Alan Abele describes himself as a fairly sound sleeper. So when he was startled by thumping sounds coming from near the back door of his home about 4 a.m. Tuesday, he knew something wasn’t right.

After grabbing a flashlight and his .357-caliber Magnum pistol, the 68-year-old Abele crept quietly outside and shouted to the would-be intruder that he had a gun. But the creature crawling on his deck in the moonlight was the last thing he expected to see.

The same could probably be said of the 200-pound, 6-foot alligator that suddenly sprang toward Abele from the shadows.

I was just joking in the headline. Wildlife cops took the deceased gator away. What they’ll do with the creature isn’t fully explained in the story, but I feel compelled to note that it isn’t bad eating.