Elementary school teachers in Florida found a surprise new student waiting for them on campus Wednesday morning.
An 8-foot, 2-inch alligator was found by a custodian at the Palm View Elementary School in Palmetto, Fla., according to The Bradenton Herald. It was found before students had arrived for their second-to-last day of school, based on the district calendar.
“We started taking every precaution we could,” Principal Kaththea Johnson told the outlet.
In a statement on the school’s Facebook page, Johnson explained the area around the gator was roped off and school faculty called 911.
Johnson told The Herald the pickup line for students was moved farther away from where the gator was found. The outlet also reported that students were able to get to their classes through the buildings, avoiding the alligator in the outside hallway.
A trapper with the Florida Wildlife Commission responded to the call and removed the alligator.
“I just want to emphasize that everyone is safe and I want to thank our school staff, law enforcement and Florida Wildlife for helping us to deal with this unusual event,” Johnson added in the Wednesday afternoon statement.
After it was removed from the elementary school, the alligator was sold to a live alligator farm, The Herald reported.
Alligators are expected to be seen around the coastal South more, now that the weather is warm and mating season has begun.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), alligators begin courting in April and breed in late May and early June.
The warm weather also revs up the prehistoric predators' metabolism, making them more active and aggressive as they hunt for prey and mate in the coastal South.
The FWC recommends not swimming during dusk or dawn, an alligator’s most active hours, keeping animals on a leash and away from water and keeping a safe distance away from the animal.
Fox News' Allie Raffa contributed to this report.