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Archive for Sunday, December 4, 2005

Stolen gators will become big problem

December 4, 2005

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— For now, the two baby alligators bite like kittens.

But in a year or so, their jaws will be strong enough to break an arm.

Officials were wondering Saturday what motivated someone to steal two American alligators from the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Fla., where hurt animals are rescued and rehabilitated.

The 6-inch-long alligators were discovered missing Thursday. At least one burglar apparently used a crowbar to pry open the gators' cage and nabbed the gators by grabbing them or scooping them up in a net, said sanctuary staffer Erika Adams.

A third baby alligator in the cage was left behind, she said.

The gators were hatched in September and had been used in educational programs, so they were accustomed to being handled.

One thing's for sure: The gators will turn from cute to deadly.

It's a second-degree misdemeanor to possess an American alligator. Although there about 1 million alligators in Florida, they are considered a "threatened species," which is one step below "endangered species."

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