WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WNCN) – A North Carolina family was stunned to see an alligator in the surf at one of their favorite beaches.

The large alligator was swimming in the ocean at Masonboro Island last week. Marcus Tooker captured video and photos of the rare sight.

“We’ve been coming to Masonboro for about 15 years now and never seen this before. Pretty wild day,” Tooker, of Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote on Facebook.

He said the gator in the surf was right in the middle of the island and seemed to be swimming north toward Wrightsville Beach.

In the video, the alligator seemed to have some trouble making progress against the waves.

Alligators are primarily freshwater animals, preferring swamps, lakes or ponds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

They are not often found near the ocean.