8-foot gator barges into Venice home

The alligator pushed its way through Mary Hollenback's screen door. (Image via Mary Hollenback)

By Crystal Harlan

April 9, 2024

There are about 50 ponds in Mary Hollenback’s Venice neighborhood, she said, so gators are a common sight in the area–but not inside people’s homes.

A Venice woman watching television on a Sunday afternoon was startled by an unexpected visitor.

Mary Hollenback heard her front door rattle, got up to investigate, and found an 8-foot alligator in the middle of her kitchen.

The reptile had let itself in through her screen door, which has a magnetic closure, making it easier to push open.

“So, I’m sitting on my sofa. It’s late in the afternoon. I’m just watching TV, and I heard my front door rattle, my screen door. And I thought somebody who didn’t live here was trying to come in, thinking that they were probably in the wrong house because that happens frequently. So, by the time I got up and went near the front door, the gator was already inside,” Hollenback told WFLA.

Hollenback’s initial instinct was to call 911, but her phone was on the counter, just inches away from the gator.

“So, I had to get a little bit closer to him, grabbed my phone, and then went on the lanai and called 911,” she said.

Two deputies from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and three Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers helped remove the gator from Hollenback’s home.

There are about 50 ponds in Hollenback’s Venice neighborhood, she said, so gators are a common sight in the area–but not inside people’s homes.

Alligator mating season is currently underway and runs through June. That means gators are on the move and can be more aggressive. Be extra careful around bodies of freshwater, especially with pets.

RELATED: 7 Best Places to See Alligators in Florida

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

CATEGORIES: ANIMALS
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