By Danny Baggott @Dan_Baggie
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Videographer / director: Gerritt Messersmith
Producer: Danny Baggott, James Thorne
Editor: Beth Angus
The 6 foot 6 inch, 200lbs reptile named Rambo not only has his own room in the house, he also watches tele on the sofa and eats dinner at the kitchen table.
Mary Thorn, 57, adopted her beloved pet Rambo 13 years ago, rescuing him from an imminent death.
Mary, who resides in Lakeland, Florida, told Barcroft TV: “Rambo was kept in a dark closet with his brothers and sisters for the first four years of his life.
“Nobody knew what to do with these alligators, they brought him over to me and I couldn’t say no.”
As a result of the poor keeping conditions that he endured prior to meeting Mary, Rambo’s immune system remains weak and he suffers from extreme sensitivity to sunlight.
Mary said: “He can't take sunshine, if he goes out in the sun he blisters like I blister so he can't enjoy a normal gator life.”
Mary dresses Rambo in costumes that are designed to protect his fragile skin – often sporting leather jackets, sunglasses and a range of Santa Clause outfits.
She said: “I had to invent ways to take care of my gator. So I put clothes on him. People think I’m nuts.
“I get a lot of slack for that, but you know what? My gator isn’t walking around with sunburn.
“I protect my gator with everything I’ve got.”
17-year-old, Rambo, freely walks inside the house and loves to watch his favourite shows on the TV.
Mary said: “Yeah, he likes to watch SpongeBob, he is a crazy gator.
“Rambo just does what he wants. If I hear him scratching at the door, I go let him out, the first thing he will do is come in here and boss the dogs.
“He is the boss. And who’s going to argue with a gator?”
Mary was trained in gator-handling from a young age and she admits that Rambo isn’t like any gator she has encountered before.
“He is definitely not like regular gators,” Mary said.
“Regular gators like stinky old nasty meat. Rambo will only eat frozen chicken. He is a spoiled gator.
“When he is sick and he doesn't feel good, he hangs out with me everywhere and that includes the bed.”
Mary is a former professional wrestler and performed at a top level for 42 years – training with the likes of Malenko and travelling all over the world.
The Lakeland homeowner has been living with gators since she was a young girl, taking care of disabled reptiles, and particularly gators, for a number of years now.
And her wrestling background has certainly helped to keep them in check.
She said: “I’ve had like 20 gators – all of them potty trained, all of them wore clothes, all of them did their own special things, like ride four-wheelers.
“I have many animals; I have four dogs, four chickens, one very big fat pig that keeps on tearing up his house, one squirrel that will pee on you.
“I have Rambo, and two grown teenage boys.”
Mary has always liked to educate the public about alligators.
Rambo obeys 70 commands, understands sign language and poses “no threat to humans”. According to Mary, he has never bit or attacked anyone.
Mary said: “He loves people. He is more like a dog than he is a gator”.
However, she warns that ordinary people should be aware of alligators, as they are not all as friendly as Rambo and might cause them serious harm.
In 2016, Mary won a campaign against the local authorities who were trying to take Rambo away from her and her house, due to a lack of space.
Thankfully, due to certain rules that she must now follow, Mary was able to keep hold of Rambo – a significant member of her family and a gator who is much more than just a pet.
She still believes that “ordinary” alligators should not be kept as pets, adding that she only has gators who cannot live in their natural habitat because of human-caused activities.
Rambo has never lived in the wild and he would die if returned to his natural habitat, according to Mary.
She continued: “Any gator that I have ever owned could not live in the wild on its own.
“I don’t just go pick up a gator from a lake or go to a place and buy one, because that’s not fair to gators.
“Don’t make a pet out of a gator.
“They have a habitat where they belong and that’s where they should stay.”