Although the Roosevelt White House had a number of exotic and unusual pets, the alligator belonged to an earlier president, John Quincy Adams.
Adams explained that he kept it around because he enjoyed “the spectacle of guests fleeing from the room in terror.”
His foreign policy was only slightly better.
In 1826, the Marquis de Lafayette gave John Quincy Adams an alligator.
Lafayette was a general in the American Revolutionary War and a leader of the Garde Nationale during the French Revolution.
The alligator lived in the White House for only a few months. Phew.