Alligator makes house call, knocks on door

Sunday, March 26, 2006

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- So now the alligators are going door to door.

When Lori Pachelli heard someone knocking at the door of her home in a gated community in this southwest Florida community earlier this week, she looked out to see an unwelcome visitor on her front stoop: an 8-foot alligator.

The bull gator, which had wandered up from the pond behind the house, had a bloody lip from banging its head against the door.

"He was pretty big, pretty aggressive," Pachelli said, adding that the gator may have followed her home from walking her cocker spaniel, Trooper.

Pachelli's husband, Mike, said he sped home after his wife called him in hysterics. The animal remained at the Pachellis' door for about an hour before going back into the lake, where trapper John French captured it later.

French said it's not unusual to find male alligators in some pretty interesting places this time of year.

"You're starting into what's called the crawl season, the breeding season," he said. "We get them out of front porches, out of garages, out of swimming pools."

The Pachellis said they never dreamed an alligator would venture that close to the house.

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