The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How on Earth Did it Get There?

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A husband’s plans to celebrate his and his wife’s 25th wedding anniversary suddenly turned wild on the discovery of an alligator lying out in his back yard. It’s not the most unheard-of thing in the world – unless you live in Southern Ontario, Canada! Walter Ertsinian lives in the city of Hamilton, in a part of Canada that normally has four seasons: a springtime with moderate temperatures, a summer that ranges from 80 to 100 degrees on average, a fall that goes back to a more temperate feel, and a rather unpredictable winter that’s often so cold it puts the Good Humor man in a bad mood. So, how on earth did an alligator end up here?!

The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How On Earth Did it Get There?

Photo: Facebook/KX947

Ertsinian told the local news that the five-foot-long reptile almost derailed the dinner plans he had arranged for his wife and children while their family tried to fathom how to deal with the issue. Typically at home in a warmer climate, alligators are most often found in states such as Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Not entirely sure that animal control would know what to do when confronted with such a critter, the family first called the police.

The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How On Earth Did it Get There?

Photo: Facebook/Terry Eymard

Ertsinian explained that it was his daughters, aged 11 and 18, who first noticed the gator on that night while they were finishing up a swim in their family pool. At first, they thought it was a toy. “They both looked at it and said, ‘maybe dad bought something for the pool like a vinyl blowup thing, or maybe dad bought some kind of weird statue as a joke and put it on the side and didn’t tell us,”‘ Ertsinian said of his daughters’ reactions. “And then they saw the head move and said, ‘no, it’s alive!”‘

The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How On Earth Did it Get There?

Photo: Facebook/RightThisMinute Via Walter Ertsinian

His youngest daughter was extremely uneasy about the alligator’s presence, and so was he, as it began to motion in his direction. Creating a barrier between the reptile and his family, Ertsinian used the remains of an old picnic table to cordon the gator off before contacting the authorities for further help. The police directed him to Hamilton Animal Services, who were on the scene quickly and ready to assist. Using a flexible lead, the animal services officer corralled the creature, despite its misgivings and obvious irritation. Hissing and thrashing its tail, it tried to make the officer’s job difficult, but he was able to remove the gator without incident.

The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How On Earth Did it Get There?

Photo: Facebook/Wisconsin 106

Ertsinian told the press that he has since heard the alligator has been safely relocated to a facility that is properly equipped to handle its needs, and the Hamilton Spectator has reported that the city’s animal services social media page suggests they’re at a loss to explain exactly how an alligator, (of any size, let alone five feet!) would come to be in this part of the country, or make it into this Hamilton yard without previously being noticed. The family’s home backs onto both a popular hiking trail and a rail line which is close by, leaving officials speculating as to whether the gator was an abandoned pet or worked itself free from a passing train. City residents aren’t allowed to keep these reptiles as pets, under bylaws governing responsible ownership, so an illegal drop such as this wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

The Alligator That Came for Anniversary Dinner: How On Earth Did it Get There?

Photo: Facebook/City of Hamilton Animal Services

Ertsinian explained that the safety of his family and neighbors was his priority and feared the incident could have turned far more dangerous had small children or family pets come across the reptile first. However, since it’s been resolved without issue, it’s a story that made a family occasion even more memorable: “The 25th anniversary and that time we had an alligator in the back yard? We’re going to remember that for sure.”


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