PALMETTO, FL (NBC) - Alexis Dunbar figures the big guy in the backyard had been watching her house for a couple of weeks watching as Jayde and Dymond, her two cats, came in and out of the doggie door off the back porch.
When Dunbar walked through the front door of her Palmetto, Florida home Saturday, there he was: a 7-foot alligator with his mouth wide-open, hissing at her, just a few feet away in her guest bathroom.
"I didn't know what to do," Dunbar said. "It was unreal. I felt invaded."
She figures the gator made his way up from the pond in the backyard, under the chain link fence, through the screened porch and into the doggie door.
"He must look at them as food everyday," she said. "He finally got bold and came up on the bank."
Dunbar screamed for her boyfriend, who propped up a small table to keep the gator in the guest bathroom until an officer from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed up.
Dunbar thinks the gator hung out at her house for several hours before she got back.
"My neighbor said she heard my porch things being knocked over at 3:00 a.m.," she said. "So he must've been here all night until I got home at 12:00 p.m. the next day. My furniture was all moved around; my blinds were all discombobulated."
Springtime is mating season for alligators, so there's a better chance people will encounter them.
The wildlife commission urges people to be cautious when they're around water.
Dunbar said wildlife officers told her they planned on killing the gator.
They consider alligators to be a nuisance when they are at least 4 feet long and pose a threat to people or their pets or property.
Her two cats made it through the night unscathed.
They will have to get used to living life differently, though: Dunbar has closed the doggie door.
"I don't like doggie doors anymore," she said. "It's scary."
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