What did I find in the lake in our backyard yesterday?
Poor thing - his mouth has been taped shut with red tape. :'( I'm all about a little neighbor gator (until it's big enough to get interested in Bonnie!) but I'm worried this guy will die, b/c he can't eat. :'( He's only 2 or 3 feet long. I would definitely be a little more "ACK!" and less "this is sooo cool! how close can I get?" were this not an obvious prison break. :-P Our neighbor (who is the developer here) has never seen one in the neighborhood before, so I figure savor the unique event! Our neighborhood groundskeeper was going to try to fish him out yesterday, cut the tape, & take him to the river...

But things took a crushing turn. Our neighborhood couldn't catch him; he's too fast & he kept hiding on the bottom of the lake. They called animal control, who WON'T come get him b/c he's LESS THAN FOUR FEET! [Are you kidding!? If his mouth were untaped, he could still eat our pets at 3.5 feet long. Ridiculous.] The zoo & several plantations wouldn't come help get him, either. They all said the most humane thing to do is SHOOT HIM, b/c we don't know how long his mouth has been taped. This may be true if no one can catch him so he doesn't starve a slow death, but my neighbor said this *IN FRONT OF WILL* - the most tenderhearted child on earth, who also happens to fancy himself a herpetologist & rescue conservationist. So beyond NOT COOL. Will kept saying no, that we could get a tranquilizer (like they're only a few dollars at the store :-P) just like on TV. Bless his heart, he wanted me to call "The Animal Extractors" off NatGeoWild. :'( My heart was breaking...for Will & our helpless "pet". I was all ready to make up a fat lie of reptile redemption just in case...

He obviously escaped from capture or worse - a pet owner didn't want him anymore & tried to get rid of him. :'( There's never been one in this neighborhood before; even though they're in the area, our lake is man-made with no creek/river flowing in, and the whole neighborhood is fenced off. They didn't shoot or catch him last night by nightfall (we were at t-ball) so the neighbors gave up for the night. I am not the least bit nervous about him; with his mouth shut, I would help grab him if we could be fast enough, but that seems impossible.

The kids prayed for him last night, and Will tore me up - he said, "What if God put angels all around the lake and they all said, "Here, gator gator!'" Oh.My.Heart...

I checked back outside this morning - still there. I couldn't stand the thought of doing nothing while he perished. I even prayed for God to tell me what I should do.

Cut to after Zumba & lunch - my friend, Jamie, needed to go to the local bait shop for worms to put in her big, new raised garden beds. It dawned on me as we stood there that these were probably the BEST people to ask about helping the gator! They went above & beyond. I told them the whole story, and they all reacted with, "Oh, no! Who would do that to the poor creature! Yeah, he needs to be relocated." [NOT ONE of them cracked a joke about hunting him for BBQ!] The bait shop owner called a buddy who got the story from me, and then the buddy called DNR (the Dept of Natural Resources) for us. [I guess that was the one option the neighborhood didn't think to call yesterday?] DNR called me back directly that they're sending someone out, either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. PRAISE!!! The DNR lady even said, "How awful! He doesn't deserve that!"

I'm so glad all these serious outdoorsmen & women are just as worked up over it & think our poor gator is as big of a sad deal as I do! :-D