Friendly sunbathing alligator found in Pa.

June 24, 2007 at 6:07 PM

PHILADELPHIA, June 24 (UPI) -- Authorities in Norristown, Pa., are at a loss to explain where a 4 1/2-foot alligator came from before it was discovered last week sunbathing on a rock.

While the reptile eventually was captured and now resides in the Elmwood Park Zoo, officials were left to speculate where the potentially deadly animal may have come from, The Philadelphia Inquirer said Saturday.

"Obviously a pet gone wrong," animal control officer Shawn Tarman said of the gator.

That theory in particular may hold true as the area official who gave the beast temporary shelter during its first night in captivity alleged the animal was surprisingly friendly.

"He's pretty friendly," said Buddy Mullen, a public-works director in the Warminster Township. "If you rub him underneath his neck a little bit, he likes that."

The alligator spent the night in Mullen's bathtub before it was transported to the zoo in a children's pool Mullen set up in the back of his sport utility vehicle.

The gator now joins a tarantula and a king snake as some of the most unusual animals to have turned up in the region in recent weeks, the Inquirer said.

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