The wild creature will be taken to animal sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Gabrielle Chung
March 02, 2020 06:26 PM

Ohio police were in for a shock when they discovered that a fully grown alligator had been living in the basement of a Groveport home for over two decades.

Authorities made the startling discovery on Thursday when the Ohio Department of Agriculture was tipped off that an adult American alligator was being kept in the basement of a local residence, according to Madison Township Police Department.

The large reptile — which turned out to be 25 years old — was voluntarily surrendered by the homeowner when officers and state wildlife officials arrived on scene and determined that the resident did not possess a valid exotic animal permit as required by law, police said.

Alligator in basement
| Credit: Madison Township Police Department

Authorities said officials plan to relocate their “scaly friend” to an animal sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“See ya later, alligator!” the Madison Township Police Department said in a statement, noting that there are “some things they just don’t teach you in the Police Academy.”

The homeowner told police that her son bought the alligator at a reptile flea market 25 years ago and had been keeping the exotic creature in their basement, according to CNN.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my 17 years in the department,” Madison Township Police commander Darrell Breneman told the outlet.

Alligator in basement
| Credit: Madison Township Police Department

According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, it has been illegal to own, trade or sell wild animals since 2012 when then-governor John Kasich signed a bill regulating the possession of exotic creatures.

The law was imposed after Terry Thompson — the owner of a 73-acre exotic animal farm near rural Zanesville, Ohio — released his collection of 56 wild creatures before shooting himself, according to NBC News. Animals that escaped from the preserve included lions, tigers, bears, wolves, giraffes and monkeys — many of which were thought to have been bought at auctions.

At the time, police had to put down 49 of the animals — including 18 rare Bengal tigers — in order to contain the situation.