SIMPSON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) — A Simpson County man got the shock of his life when he spotted a nearly 9-foot alligator creeping around the flower bed in his back yard.

Ricky Flint of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said April and May are the peak season for breeding.

“With that comes large male alligators that are seeking breeding females they will travel quite long distances in search of those females.”

He’s seen alligators trapped in garages, travel into the streets of Downtown Jackson and in this case lost in a homeowner’s flowerbed.

“Apparently the homeowner was quite surprised they were out there trimming the bushes and encountered it, and it was quite a scary thing for them but we see those types of situations all of the time.”

The neighbor did just what he was supposed to do, which is stay far away and all authorities.

“These alligators are not what Hollywood has really portrayed as being man-eaters we do wish people would treat them with deep respect,” Flynt said. “Most times if you’ll just keep your distance keep quiet they will move on and go to a safe place we never recommend anybody ever put their hands on an alligator it’s actually illegal for you to do so.”

If you ever find yourself face to face with one of these creatures the best thing to do is give it space and stay quiet.

“Obviously there are problems with crowds gathering and people wanting to get pictures and videos and things like that, and we try to manage those types of perceptions of alligators,” he said. “We understand that people don’t interact with them as regularly as we do and they have a fear of those animals, and that may be a healthy thing that people have a fear of them and will not approach them.”

Flynt says after they catch the alligator they usually will relocate them to a larger body of water. It’s only in extreme cases where they will have to euthanize the animal.