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Lounging lizard

Gator chills out at Post Office

The Spring Hill, FL, Post Office’s unexpected visitor. Image: Hernando County Sheriff’s Office

A customer dropping off a package at 3 a.m. at the Spring Hill, FL, Post Office this month unexpectedly ran into another patron in the 24-hour lobby: a 7-foot-long alligator.

Social distancing was practiced.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office responded to the startled customer’s report and a trapper was sent. The gator was safely removed and “returned to his natural habitat,” according to Cindy Jost of the Sheriff’s Office.

A photo posted on the Hernando County sheriff’s Facebook page shows the lobby crasher cooling off in air-conditioned comfort and seemingly very pleased with himself, although the permanent smile makes it hard to know for sure.

The who, what and where of the incident were clear. The how and why sparked a lot of speculation.

The Facebook page, where the incident was first reported, soon came alive with zingers, including “These boots were made for walking” and “They didn’t deliver to his door so he just caiman.”

Many commenters wondered if mating season had anything to do with it, with one poster theorizing that the gator saw his reflection in the glass of the automatic doors and mistook it for a potential paramour.

“The gator had to have walked a considerable distance” from the nearest water, said Peter Sbashnig, Spring Hill’s customer services manager, “through a residential neighborhood, crossing Deltona Boulevard, which is a four-lane road, and continue to the Post Office.”

“It’s really mind-boggling,” he continued, “but it is mating season.”

The “mailagator” may not have found a mate, but by surviving the journey, it got lucky indeed.