North Philly man goes viral after wrangling a wandering alligator in a trash can
“I was frightened when I had it in it, because it was so powerful. I didn’t expect that, and it was pushing itself out and whipping its tail around,” Eugene Bozzi told Orlando NBC affiliate WESH.
“Florida man” is once again trending in the United States, but this time he happens to be from Philadelphia.
Eugene Bozzi, a North Philadelphia native and Army veteran, is going viral after trapping an alligator wandering through his neighborhood with the only tool at his disposal — a rolling trash can.
The harrowing story unfolded Tuesday. Bozzi, who has lived in Orange County, Fla., for a year, grabbed the garbage can when he was told an alligator had wandered up to his neighbor’s front door.
In video of the capture, which Bozzi shared on his Instagram page, he slowly slid the garbage can on its side toward the 6-foot-long animal. Once the alligator enters, Bozzi pushed the can upright and frantically tried to close the lid as the animal attempted to thrash its way free.
“I was frightened when I had it in it, because it was so powerful. I didn’t expect that, and it was pushing itself out and whipping its tail around,” Bozzi told Orlando NBC affiliate WESH. “I didn’t know the procedures, so I did it my own way.”
Bozzi told the New York Post the idea to use the garbage can came from watching videos on Animal Planet.
When asked why he used a recycling bin, Bozzi told the Post that it was “big enough to scare him into thinking that’s a mouth,” adding, “Cuz I watch a lot of Animal Planet videos, and he’s going to think that I’m like a hippo or something.”
Once the alligator was secure, Bozzi wheeled the animal to a nearby retention pond away from the house and tipped the can over. The creature looked puzzled at first but didn’t take long before lurching into the water, drawing cheers from neighbors who had gathered.
“I would’ve been gator food. I would’ve fainted,” Denise Sparks, who owns the home in Mount Dora where the alligator was spotted, told WESH.
The video of the dramatic capture quickly went viral, causing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to warn residents who spot an alligator to call the state’s hotline so a professional can do the wrangling.
“Don’t grab a garbage can,” the commission warned.