A huge eight-foot-long alligator named Big Mack was recovered from a basement in a Philadelphia home where it had been kept for more than a decade after its owners split.
The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT) was called to a property last week after Yali, who gave only her first name, wanted her 127-pound husband’s reptile following their divorce.
They took in Big Mack as a baby in 2011, but before housing him in a makeshift room in a padlocked basement. It is unclear whether they bought the reptile.
AImal Protection Officers had to wrestle and tie him up before three people carried him out of the premises.
The 12-year-old beast has now found a makeshift home in a shelter with plenty of space and his enclosure is complete with an indoor pool and heat lamps.
It’s illegal to own an exotic animal with a tendency to be dangerous in Philadelphia, but the ACCT won’t prosecute Yali or her ex.
An eight-foot-tall gator named Big Mack was removed from a Philadelphia basement where it had been kept for more than a decade after its owners split. Pictured: Big Mack is escorted to his new enclosure by ACCT staff
It took three animal control officers to wrestle Big Mack out of his basement enclosure and into the animal control van
Yali (pictured) wanted to get her 127-pound husband’s reptile out after they separated and the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia was called to rescue the reptile
Yali called the ACCT to rescue the gator, telling CBS News Philadelphia, “I wanted him out of here.
She reportedly wanted nothing to do with the reptile, and he hadn’t been fed for a month.
“My husband has had it since 2011,” Yali told CBS News Philadelphia. “We’ve had it in the basement all these years.”
No criminal charges will be filed against the couple because the ACCT in Philadelphia prefers people seek help rather than fear punishment.
Sarah Barnett, executive director of ACCT Philadelphia, said they expected Big Mack to be much smaller and five feet tall.
“When we walked up to the padlock, there was a little window on the door, like you see in these prisons in movies,” she told Fox News Digital.
“We all looked inside, and we just said, ‘Oh shit.'”
The reptile was stressed and hissing and spinning in the basement.
“It just made me sad because these animals are smart,” Barnett said.
“They’re not stupid animals, so it was just sad to see an animal like that in an environment that isn’t ideal, when they deserve so much more.
“You wish you could explain to him, ‘No, we’re actually taking you to a better place.’ So we got him into the truck and it wasn’t very gracious.”
It took three people to wrestle Big Mack out of his basement enclosure and into the animal control van.
One person had to sit on the animal’s back to restrain it, Barnett sat on the tail while another taped his mouth.
He will remain in the temporary enclosure before being moved to a permanent home at Florida’s Jupiter Alligator and Wildlife Sanctuary.
The 12-year-old reptile has now found a makeshift home at the ACCT shelter with plenty of space and his enclosure is complete with an indoor pool and heat lamps. Pictured: Big Mack floats in the pool for the first time in years
Big Mack was filmed taking probably his first dive in years
The original plan was for Big Mack to be transferred to a shelter in Michigan, but he was too big for the plane.
Barnett said, “We didn’t have a container big enough for him and the plane wasn’t big enough for him, so we took him, but we had to pivot and think about what the best alternative would be.”
So the animal rescue team created a temporary habitat for him at their sanctuary, filming him taking probably his first swim in years.
“He put his head under the water, which is apparently what they do to relieve stress,” Barnett said.
“So just the fact that he was comfortable enough and you could just feel that he was relaxed.”
He will stay there before being moved to a permanent home at Florida’s Jupiter Alligator and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Barnett added, “What’s cool about the sanctuary is they have great holding pools for the gators.
“They can live their natural lives. It’s not like they’re parading around. They just become natural crocodiles and alligators, which is really great.”
Big Mack is the third gator rescued by the ACCT this month in Philadelphia.