From crocodiles in swimming pools to panthers on porches, Florida's wild animals regularly find their way into the headlines. The latest addition to the state's growing anthology of backyard wildlife sightings is this – somewhat displeased – alligator.

The hissing sewer gator was filmed by Florida local Louis Camacho last month, in a storm drain outside his Apopka home. Camacho initially suspected an earthquake when he felt vibrations beneath his feet as he stepped across the front yard to fetch his mail. But closer inspection from street level revealed the source of the tremor to be less seismic and more reptilian.

"I could hear him and feel him. I could feel it under my feet. The vibration," Camacho told WFTV9.

The agitated animal was likely just defending its turf. Hissing, along with an aggressive posture, is typically a defensive or territorial behaviour: it's gator speak for "keep your distance".

"It was pretty loud," Camacho says. "It definitely got my attention. I guess (it wanted) to warn me to back off."

Although such encounters are uncommon, this is not the first time that Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWS) officials have seen alligators in a drain. With 1.3 million of these animals living in the state, run-ins with their human neighbours are pretty inevitable. FWS recommends that if you come across one, the best course of action is to call the authorities (wrestling gators is not recommended).

Like many Floridians, Camacho is no stranger to encounters like this. The gator had previously made an appearance in a retention pond behind his house, and just a few days ago, a 300-pound bear popped in for a visit. Fortunately, the animal-loving local is happy to share his home with the wild residents. "I respect nature, you know, and I give it its space and [the animals] have given me my space," he explains.

As for the hissing gator, FWC have said that its proximity to people could pose a risk, so they will likely try to trap the animal and relocate it.


Top header image: cuatrok77, Flickr