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My Pet... Alligator? Man Fights For Custody Of His Pizza-Loving Gator

Jul 19, 2016 06:45 AM EDT
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While many of us would be dead terrified at the sight of an alligator lurking around, this man is fighting the authorities just to keep one at home.

Meet David Van Buren, whom reports say is asking Florida wildlife officials to allow him to keep his pet gator in his custody.

Though extremely unusual, this is not the first time he had to plead to authorities to keep the gator. Fox News reported that the state took the gator away from him in 1994, but got the reptile back when the judge ruled in his favor.

The alligator named Gwendolyn has been Van Buren's pet since he was nine years old, reported United Press International. Gwendolyn is actually a male gator, but Van Buren mistakenly identified him as a female when he first found him.

Gwendolyn has been occupying Van Buren's Coconut Grove backyard for 47 years. But he also enjoys staying indoors, too.

"Once he was in the house, he didn't want to leave. I think it took us like three weeks to get him to go back outside. He was on the couch all the time, or in the bathtub," Van Buren told Fox 13 News.

The 13-foot gator is unlike any gator in Florida. Instead of having an appetite for raw meat, Gwendolyn actually enjoys pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Van Buren said Gwendolyn poses no harm to anyone and will do whatever it takes to keep him.

Authorities claim that Gwendolyn could not be kept in Van Buren's custody anymore because his property is already too small for the size of the reptile. Unless Van Buren expands his home, the state authorities will insist on taking the gator away.

Previous research revealed that gators, as much as any reptiles, are incapable of creating bonds with humans. But debunking this notion is the case of Gilberto "Chito" Shedden, a Costa Rican fisherman who developed an unbelievable bond with Pocho, a five-meter long crocodile that weighs up to half a ton.

The story of the unlikely pair has been featured by National Geographic. The documentary showed how Pocho is capable of doing tricks with Chito, such as rolling on his belly and making affectionate poses together. Chito is the only man known to tame a crocodile.

Unfortunately, Pocho died in 2011. Since then, no story similar to Pocho's has been known.

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