A military veteran was captured on video trapping an alligator inside a garbage pail outside a Florida home Tuesday morning.
The nail-biting footage shared on social media shows Eugene Bozzi, a former combat veteran and Philadelphia native, confronting the 6-foot alligator with an open trash bin as a crowd of onlookers gathered nearby.
"I don't know the procedures, so I did it my own way," Bozzi, who goes by the name Abdul Gene Malik on his Instagram account, told NBC affiliate WESH.
In the now viral video, Bozzi is seen inching closer to the alligator with an open trash can as the reptile hissed loudly and moved backwards. Once he was able to get the gator’s head inside the pail, Bozzi snapped the lid over it and managed to lift the bin upright as the alligator violently flailed its tail around before being trapped inside.
"I was frightened when I had it in it because it was so powerful, and I didn't expect that," Bozzi said. "And it was pushing itself out, whipping its tail around."
The shocked crowd applauded as they watched Bozzi wheel the bin across the street and release the gator near a lake in the Orange County neighborhood.
Bozzi told WESH his "army training kicked in get it done, dropping it in, keep moving."
While Bozzi's bravery is commended, wildlife authorities urged others not to attempt to capture alligators themselves. The official Twitter account of Orange County, Florida, retweeted the video with a warning: "Reminder: Alligators are not recyclable in your blue lid cart."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission says it receives a yearly average of 16,000 alligator complains, with many involving gators in backyards, garages, swimming pools, and golf courses.
Earlier this month, a woman was paddleboarding on a river in Ocala when she had to use an oar to fend off an alligator after it swam directly toward her.
Typically, FWC officials advise people not to handle to attempt to wrangle gators themselves, as that can be extremely dangerous. Instead, officials urge the public to call the toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-428.