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Firetruck Used To Pull 400-Pound Alligator From Florida Creek

WFTV (Orlando, Florida) 04 January 05 
Photo at URL below: Todd Hardwick, right, from Pesky Critters, along with officers from Fish and Wildlife and a crew of firefighters remove a large alligator from Wagner Creek alongside Cedars Medical Center.
     Miami: A 12-foot alligator weighing more than 400 pounds and described as among the largest ever caught near downtown Miami was hoisted from a creek Monday by a firetruck.
     The alligator was discovered in Wagner Creek, about 16 miles from the Everglades, in the shadows of two major hospital complexes and around the corner from the Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, a court house, a county jail and government office buildings.
     It was "about the last place you'd expect to see an alligator of any size," said licensed trapper Todd Hardwick. Alligators are much more common in suburban canals and lakes.
     Hardwick and others wrapped a rope around the middle of the gator and attached the other end to a ladder fire truck, which hoisted the reptile out of the water, over a 4-foot fence and a row of parked cars.
     Then Hardwick and two wildlife officers sat on the gator while an assistant secured its jaws shut with duct tape. "He used the entire roll," Hardwick said.
     The spectacle attracted a crowd of more than 200 and forced the city to temporarily close the street, he said.
     The alligator likely swam downtown years ago, when it was smaller, and lived the canal system draining the Miami Civic Center, emerging only to snatch raccoons and opossums from the bank, Hardwick said.
     But most of the food was delivered straight to the gator. Hardwick said the reptile likely grew fat on carcasses of animals tossed into the creek as religious sacrifices.
     "They farm-raised this big boy on Santeria and voodoo," Hardwick said.
Under Florida law, the alligator cannot be returned to the wild because it might try to return to the same canal. Because of its size, Hardwick said he will try to find a farm, zoo or other facility to keep it in captivity. Otherwise, the gator will be destroyed.
     Firetruck Used To Pull 400-Pound Alligator From Florida Creek