When most people spot an alligator, they run away—fast.
But for Ashley Lawrence, 26, these slimy and scaly swamp creatures weighing up to 600 pounds and stretching 10 feet long, are her best friends.
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The Homestead, Florida native is an alligator rescuer and her job entails venturing into the murky Everglades to hand-capture “nuisance alligators” — those that wander from swamps onto homeowners' properties, across highways, or even into town. Normally, state trappers would remove the animals, catching and killing them, in order to sell their skin or meat. However, Lawrence and the Gator Boys (the mostly male rescue group she belongs to) step in to catch and transport the gators safely to the Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, where young gators are returned to the wild and older ones are moved to a sanctuary. The group funds its rescues by performing alligator wrestling shows (with the nuisance gators) for the public.
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