Pennsylvania woman stunned to find alligator in her backyard

A Pennsylvania woman was in her backyard watching a turtle when she was shocked to see a different, far bigger reptile just a few feet away.

“You’re an awfully big turtle,” was Tracie Hoffecker's initial reaction upon seeing an alligator creeping around her backyard, she told FOX29 Philadelphia.

Hoffecker called her firefighter cousin to help remove the 3-foot gator from her Prospect Park home – located about 16 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

Slimy, Scaly, Taily Reptile Rescue also arrived at the home to recover the animal. The reptile is set to go to an aquarium, group representative Matt Snider said.

“I come down here every day to feed my bees and I never imagined I’d see an alligator,” Hoffecker told FOX29.

The alligator was likely someone’s pet and was probably illegally dumped in the area, authorities said.

"You’re an awfully big turtle."

- Tracie Hoffecker

“That creature can’t live here all year. As soon as it gets cold, it’s going to die. That’s horrible. It’s an animal that deserves to live,” Hoffecker said.

It’s legal to own an alligator in the state of Pennsylvania, but illegal to release one into the wild.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.