Animal control officials removed a massive 8-foot-long alligator named Big Mack from a Philadelphia row home, where he had been confined to the basement for more than a decade.
The Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT) was called to the home after the gator’s humans divorced and his owner’s ex-wife no longer wanted him in the house.
The couple had the animal since he was a baby and kept him in the padlocked basement since 2012.
Rescuers had originally planned for Big Mack to be flown to a new home at a Michigan sanctuary — but the 12-year-old reptile was too big for the plane.
Executive director of ACCT Philly Sarah Barnett told Fox News Digital that they were expecting a gator three feet shorter at around 5-feet-long.
“When we walked up to the padlock, there was this little window on the door, like you see in these prisons in movies,” Barnett told the outlet. “We all kind of peered in, and we just went, ‘Oh crap.’”
Big Mack measures 8 feet long and weighs 127 pounds.
It took three people to remove him from his basement enclosure and into the animal control truck.
“When we got him out, it was a little bit nerve-wracking at the beginning,” Barnett said.
She said the gator was in stress — hissing and twisting around — and likely hadn’t been fed in a month.
“We had one person sitting on the back just to restrain him, and then I was sitting on the tail while someone else was taping the mouth,” Barnett told the publication.
The ACCT Philly team quickly had to come up with a new solution and built a makeshift habitat for Big Mack at the organization’s shelter, complete with an indoor pool and heat lamps.
On Friday, Big Mack was moved to an alligator holding facility in Pennsylvania where he took what was likely one of his first swims in years in a joyous moment captured on video.
After quarantining in Pennsylvania, Big Mack will head to his permanent home in Florida at the Jupiter Alligator and Wildlife Sanctuary aka JAWS.
The sanctuary will be a big upgrade from the small basement where the alligator had spent nearly his whole life.
“What’s cool about the sanctuary is they’ve got these amazing holding pools for the alligators,” Barnett said of JAWS. “They get to live their natural life. It’s not like they are out being paraded around. They’re just getting to be natural crocodiles and alligators which is really awesome.”
Big Mack was the third alligator ACCT Philly rescued this month alone.
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