An 8-Foot Gator Was Discovered in the Attic of a North Carolina Home by a Code Enforcement Officer

Here’s your wild news for the week. A code enforcement official inspecting a three-story home in Wilmington, North Carolina, was in for the surprise of his life when he entered the attic of a home he was there to inspect.

The routine inspection for potential structural issues or code violations left Dean Brown in disbelief after he initially thought the gargantuan creature was a large stuffed replica of some sort. It wasn’t until he saw its eyes open and realized it was breathing that he knew he’d made a monumental misjudgment that was chalked up to dim lighting.

Remaining calm, he told WECT News 6 that he slowly began backing up while snapping pictures of the animal to share with others.

gator in NC attic
Photo: WECT News 6

“I go in, start looking around. It’s three stories to get to the attic. And when I walk up to the attic, I didn’t think nothing of it. I turned the corner. I’m looking around at the work, and I noticed what I thought was a fake, stuffed gator of some sort, and then I started continuing doing my job. Then I looked back at him and realized he was moving and breathing,” Brown said.

“So, I chose to back away and take some pictures and call a co-worker and let him know. We made sure that the place was safe and evacuated people, there were workers that were there on site, asked them to leave for their safety. And then we called for animal control.”

Brown, who’s been inspecting homes in New Hanover County for a little more than a year, added that he’s never seen anything like this in an attic.

As to how it got there, he said he thinks one of the home’s doors was left open over the weekend, and that the gator — which likely lived in a nearby marsh — was able to gain access and then climbed the built-in stairs to the attic.

Photo: WECT News 6

“The builder arrived Monday morning and realized there was mud in the house, wasn’t sure where it was from, but he did call people in to clean and repaint some areas. Then, work continued for a day and a half until I arrived and discovered it,” Brown explained.

“Nobody would believe me. You know, I made phone calls. I tell people around me. Nobody would believe me. And one person did get around to go and look when he realized I was not joking. He was able to communicate with the rest of the workers on site to leave.”

Animal control arrived to remove the gator, saying it was about eight feet long.

“Since then, I’ve been very cautious a peek in and look around,” he admitted. “It was an experience that I’ll never forget, not be able to share for a very long time. And I’m just thankful that no one got hurt.”

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