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Nosey alligator snared at home

The pool in Sharon Hatcher's back yard must have looked refreshing to the alligator wandering around Sunday morning in the June heat. Too bad that fence was there.

Hatcher, of 7640 Parkview Place, was preparing to go to her usual Sunday bingo game when she saw a 5-foot-long leathery prowler rushing across the neighbor's yard _ on a direct line for her swimming pool.

Over blades of grass and a berm of leaves the reptile rushed, probably seeking cool relief since nearby ponds have dried up.

Or it might have had an interest in one of Hatcher's four kittens or even her 16-month-old daughter, Cameron.

Cameron didn't seem all that fazed by the alligator's presence _ she was more interested in the not-quite-ripened tomatoes in Mom's garden.

The cats also seemed oblivious to the reptilian presence.

Hatcher did all their worrying for them and called authorities to get rid of the gator.

The gator couldn't get past the fence that runs around Hatcher's yard, but it patroled one side looking for a way in before a sheriff's deputy arrived and cornered it.

The gator never charged during the standoff with the deputy, but it repeatedly tried to find holes in the fence.

Curious neighbors stopped as they drove by, then quickly drove on after Hatcher's husband Kenny told them what was happening.

He said he wanted to kill the gator and keep the meat in his refrigerator "but I don't feel like cleaning him."

Not to mention that an alligator can be killed only by licensed state trappers if the animal has been declared a nuisance by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission.

About an hour later, trapper Jim Long snared the animal,which hissed and thrashed about while Long used electrical tape to shut its mouth and bind its legs.

Long said this was the seventh gator he has trapped in a week. He took the animal to a processing center where it will be killed and skinned.

Smaller gators are taken to watery locales, but Long said that the bigger animals continue to frequent the yards of humans.

The meat will wind up on somebody's dinner table at a restaurant.

The skin will be up for sale later this year when the state Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has its annual hide auction.

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