A Lakeland woman is hoping she will get to keep her alligator named “Rambo” at her house like she has for the past 11 years. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is investigating whether it will renew her license to keep the gator.
Mary Thorn said she took in Rambo as a rescue from his previous owner. She said that previous owner kept Rambo in the dark too much and he's now very sensitive to sunlight.
Rambo spends most of his days inside Thorn’s house. He waits by the refrigerator for food and even watches TV. Thorn keeps his teeth clean with a toothbrush and toothpaste. She even holds him like a baby and kisses his snout.
Thorn insists she is not crazy for keeping a gator like a family member.
“I get that all the time," said Thorn. "And then once they meet him his personality takes over. You see him sitting there? He’ll sit there like that until he has to go pee.”
Thorn puts Rambo on a four wheeler where he likes to sit. She also takes him to charity shows in a motorcycle sidecar.
“He likes to show off. He’s a big hambone,” she said.
But there are questions now about whether Thorn will get to keep Rambo. He has grown since Thorn got her original license from FWC, and her property may not be large enough to meet regulations pertaining to keeping alligators.
FWC spokesperson Gary Morse didn’t want to say much more than FWC was investigating the issue. He also said there may have been some confusion over renewing Thorn’s license because she had changed her last name.
Thorn is getting moral support from neighbor Pat Rodgers. He hopes she gets to keep Rambo.
“I think it’s fantastic," said Rodgers. "I have no problem with it whatsoever."