A Florida woman was fighting Wednesday to keep her 6-foot-long clothes-wearing, motorcycle-riding pet alligator in her home.
The 125-pound reptile named Rambo even has a bedroom in Mary Thorn's home in Lakeland.
Thorn has had a license for the alligator for 11 years, but the gator recently grew to 6 feet. Wildlife officials say an alligator that size must have 2.5 acres of land. Thorn told the Orlando Sentinel that even if she had land available, Rambo can't be left outdoors because of sensitivity to sunlight.
“Everyone will tell you that I treat that animal like a baby,” she said. “He doesn’t do anything a normal gator does.”
Thorn takes Rambo to schools and charity events to teach people about reptiles and has trained him not to bite.
"He loves kids, and when kids come around he shuts his mouth really tight so fingers can’t go in his mouth," Thorn told the Orlando Sentinel, adding that she has been given permission to have the reptile out and about without its snout taped shut.
Florida Wildlife Commission spokesman Gary Morse said Thorn's case is under investigation. He added that since Thorn had Rambo before the 2.5-acre stipulation went into effect, the pair could be grandfathered in.
Thorn said she received the gator when it was four years old. Up until that point, it had been kept in a dark closet with other alligators, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
Thorn is looking into getting Rambo certified as a therapy animal so she can keep him. In the meantime, she has been struggling with finding someone with the proper license to take ownership of the gator.
She told the Orlando Sentinel that she received an offer from a reptile encounter attraction in Tampa, but is concerned about what would happen to Rambo if he spent too much time in the sunlight.
“I know when he goes there he’s going to be really afraid and he’s probably going to pass away from stress,” Thorn said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.