LAKELAND, Florida — Show up at Mary Thorn’s place in Lakeland, Florida and you’ll see a homemade sign, warning you about her gator, Rambo. Thorn says you may think she’s crazy for treating Rambo like a family member, but she insists she’s not.
“I get that all the time. And then once they meet him his personality takes over. You see him sitting there? He’ll sit there like that till he has to go pee,” Thorn said.
Thorn rescued Rambo 11 years ago.
“He likes to show off. He’s a big hambone,” Thorn said.
A big hambone with pearly whites Thorn keeps clean with…a toothbrush and toothpaste.
The gator lives inside Thorn’s home. He likes to wait by the fridge for food and watch TV.
“He can work the remote,” Thorn said.
Thorn has a license from the “Fish and Wildlife Commission” to keep Rambo — but there are questions about whether it should be renewed due to how big Rambo has gotten, and whether Thorn has enough land to meet regulations.
“He’s my baby,” Thorn said.
So far, Fish and Wildlife Commission officials haven’t said much, other than that they’re investigating whether the license can be renewed.
Meanwhile, Thorn says she’ll be devastated if she learns she can’t keep Rambo, and so would those who see Rambo at charity events, sitting in Thorn’s motorcycle’s sidecar.
“Anywhere I go, people are drawn to him,” Thorn said.