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Officials: Rambo The Gator Can Stay

Photo by Crystal Chavez
Photo by Crystal Chavez

A Lakeland woman says Christmas came early for her when she got a state permit to keep her pet Rambo – a motorcycle-riding, leather-wearing alligator she’s had for more than a decade.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said Mary Thorn’s property wasn’t big enough to keep a gator that's six feet long. But she argued Rambo has an immune disorder that makes him sun-sensitive, so he’s an “indoor gator” anyway.

After nearly a year of legal wrangling, though, Thorn says it was time to cover Rambo with his usual sunscreen and clothing step out.

"We were out in the yard celebrating yesterday," said Thorn, "and he’s just ecstatic."

The permit does have restrictions, though.

"On this permit, the only thing we’re not allowed to do is exhibit him, and we’re not allowed to go anywhere without the tape being around his mouth,” said Thorn.

She says Rambo is so docile, he thinks the tape is a punishment.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined WMFE in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.