IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Dad was about to drive his kids to school. First he had to wrestle an alligator

Texas father Mike Trinh's back-to-school morning routine got a bit wild, but he used lessons he learned from "The Crocodile Hunter" television show.
American Alligator swimming in the spring swamp
A Texas dad wrestled an alligator who wandered onto his property on his children's first day of school.Cindy Larson / Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

A Texas dad wrestled an alligator while getting his children ready for school, after the beast unexpectedly wandered into his driveway.

On Tuesday, Mike Trinh, a restaurant owner in Lake Olympia, Texas, was waiting for one of his daughters to get dressed for her first day of middle school when she shouted, "Dad, there's an alligator out front!"

"I thought she was playing around so I said, 'Stop, we have no time for this. You're going to school,'" Trinh, 47, told TODAY Parents.

Nonetheless, he peered out the window and saw an alligator estimated to be six feet long, in front of his door.

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, American alligators are classified as an endangered species in the state. They are found in rivers, swamps, marches and bayous, although a spokesperson from the organization told TODAY Parents that gators occasionally wander into neighborhoods if they reside nearby, with human confrontations rare.

Related: Watch this mom and daughter fight off an intruder in their restaurant: ‘Excuse you’

Trinh was "cautious" but as a fan of "The Crocodile Hunter," television series starring the late wildlife expert Steve Irwin — and with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu — he felt confident to approach the beast.

He ran outside armed with three towels to throw over the alligator's head — an expert alligator submission move — along with a sledgehammer.

"I missed the first two throws but the third time worked," he said.

Once the gator appeared calm under the towel, Trinh pinned its mouth shut with the sledge hammer, then from behind, grabbed its jaw.

He called for his daughter to bring duct tape outside, then secured the alligator's mouth, along with his arms and legs.

Trinh’s daughter called local authorities but this was a job for Texas Parks & Wildlife — which hadn't opened yet that morning.

So Trinh and a friend loaded the alligator into his truck and released him in a bayou about 300 yards from his home.

According to Jim Nesci, a long-time friend of Irwin and a respected educational reptile expert in Naples, Fla., a towel isn't the only way to subdue an alligator.

Related: Teen football players save woman from car crash: ‘We just did the right thing

"You could jam your fingers in the eye sockets," he told TODAY Parents. "They will close their eyes as a defense mechanism." He added that making loud sounds or positioning your body in an intimidating manner could also scare it away.

Nesci said taping the snout wouldn't necessarily harm the reptile unless its dermal pressure receptors, tiny dots that help alligators find food, were damaged.

Texas Parks & Wildlife discourages humans from approaching alligators, advising to wait them out if the animal doesn't pose an obvious threat.

"Alligators have a natural fear of humans, and usually begin a quick retreat when approached by people," notes the organization. "If you have a close encounter with an alligator a few yards away, back away slowly." If you heard a hiss, that means you've invaded its space.

Trinh said the incident was taken care of within 30 minutes — and none of his children were late to school, thanks to his wife.

His family, however, isn't dazzled. "My daughter is just upset that I didn't believe her at first," he said, adding, "My kids think I am a big dork."