You wouldn't expect an alligator to be calling the valley home, but Spike, a 400-pound American alligator, has been living here for 7 years.
Today is moving day for Spike. He's off to Florida for a better climate and some female companionship
But moving a 400-pound reptile is not easy.
Spike is now 9 feet long and about 400 pounds. He came to the Phoenix Herpetological Society 7 years ago after his owner was pulled over for a broken tailgate on his trailer.
"When they opened up his trailer they found 32 American alligators in there that were being transported illegally, they were seized and they all came to our facility," says Daniel Marchand, Phoenix Herpetological Society.
Spike is one of 2 remaining gators. He's headed to a facility in Florida for a breeding program.
"The temperature is perfect, there are two giant females waiting for him. So in the best interest of Spike that is where he needs to go," says Marchand.
But starting the journey wasn't easy. First they taped his mouth shut, then six people carried him to from his cage to the tube he'll be transported in.
"With it being cold like this, it is just like taking syrup out of the refrigerator, he is moving nice and slow."
That tube is designed to fit into the back of a truck for the trip to Florida.
"We have moved some 300 pounders -- this is just going to be a new record as far as weight goes."
The trip to Florida will take 3 days.
The crews from Phoenix will meet with the group from Florida in San Antonio, Texas. The Florida crew will take over the rest of the drive.
Video: It's a big task to get a gator ready for transport. Press play for more.
Phoenix Herpetological Society
KDFW FOX 4
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