Giant gator shows up on front doorstep of Sarasota home

Here's one visitor you don't want knocking at your front door.

Mark and Jackie Brettingen were in their Sarasota home around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday night when they spotted a giant alligator staring at them through their front door.

As Jackie got closer to record video of the reptile, Mark could be heard in the background warning her to stay back because the gator could break through the glass.

Her response: "I have a gun."


Alligator takes a stroll through Publix parking lot in Florida

Alligators are a common sight in Florida, but it still took one man by surprise to see a large gator taking an early morning stroll outside of a Publix.

The alligator stayed at their doorstep for about 10 minutes before it slowly walked down the path away from the front of their home.

More of the large reptiles have been spotted out and about due to the start of alligator mating season, which begins in May or June. However, their courtship starts in early April -- and that means more alligators sightings as the reptiles venture out in search of their mates.

(Courtesy: Mark and Jackie Brettingen)

WATCH: Massive alligator runs onto Orlando soccer field during team practice, sending players screaming

By late June or early July, female gators will lay between 32 to 46 eggs. Incubation periods for alligators take about 60 to 65 days, and baby gators will be born in late August or early September, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


South Florida couples tries to have wedding at stranger's mansion without getting permission

The couple invited family and friends to their "dream home" for their weekend wedding celebration, saying it was "God's plan" that they should get married there. Just one problem: they didn't own the mansion, and didn't get permission from the owner.

FWC provides the following safety tips when it comes to alligators:

Generally, alligators less than four feet in length are not large enough to be dangerous unless handled. However, if you encounter any alligator that you believe poses a threat to people, pets or property, call the Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWCGATOR (866-392-4286). Please be aware, nuisance alligators are killed, not relocated. 

Be aware of the possibility of alligators when you are in or near fresh or brackish water. Bites may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or recreating near water. 

Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators. 

Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, avoid swimming at night. 

Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Don’t allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators.

Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest, so do not swim with your dog. 

Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators. Handling even small alligators can result in injury.

LINK: Wow! Florida men find mammoth bone from the Ice Age while scuba diving


Deputies expel small alligator from Hardee elementary school

A small alligator wandered onto campus at Zolfo Springs Elementary, so SRO Jennifer Soria and two fellow Hardee County Sheriff’s Office deputies had to remove the "uninvited guest" as they put it.