|This 12-foot alligator attempted to get into the house of Paul and Dianna Wellworth due to smelling barbecued chicken grilling in the backyard. Good thing they checked to see who was ringing the doorbell before opening the door!|
Knock, Knock! Who's there? Al. Al who? Alligator's here, my dear! OK, maybe I'm not that good at knock, knock jokes, but this really does apply to what happened last Wednesday. Two Riverville locals named Mr. Paul and Mrs. Dianna Wellworth were out in their backyard enjoying the summer afternoon. To find out exactly what happened, my trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I went to interview them. “We just thought we'd enjoy the afternoon,” said Paul, “so I . . . popped up the grill and started grillin' barbequed chicken while Dianna read a good book.” It was a rather boring afternoon, so they decided to invite some of the neighbors to enjoy the afternoon grilling with them, so Diana went into the house to make some phone calls and the smell of barbecued chicken floated into the air, and this was bound to attract some attention, maybe even some uninvited dinner guests . . . Within the first 15 minutes, about four-fifths of the neighbors they'd invited arrived and Paul was putting the finishing touches on his BBQ chicken when suddenly, the doorbell rung once again. Dianna is quoted for saying, “So naturally, I went over to get the door since Paul was busy. I originally thought that these were the rest of our dinner guests. As a precaution I . . . [look] out the peephole to make sure I'm opening the door to the right people. But this time, I saw no one there and none of the guests we invited were that short! Next I decided to check out the window that was next to the front door to see who it was, and to my surprise . . . I thought I saw a big scaly lizard at my door!” Dianna went on to explain that she couldn't believe her own eyes. However, her eyes had indeed deceived her, as no lizard was present at her front door step. She went out the backdoor to see this “lizard”, when she found that it wasn't a lizard after all – instead, it was a 12-foot alligator with its body leaning up against the door! It's right front leg was inches from the doorbell! She went back to get her husband and he was pretty surprised as well. “I didn't believe Dianna when she told me a gator was at our door because . . . well, that's just not something alligators normally do!” Paul says. “When the word 'alligator' comes to mind, you think of it stalking in the water not the front door step of an urban neighborhood! And I certainly didn't believe a gator was at our door because, as far as I knew, alligators didn't live up here in New York!” Well, you can be pretty sure that the neighbors Paul and Dianna had invited soon heard about the alligator and they started to use their cameras to take a few photos (and all the while, the alligator was trying to get in the door). Paul decided that before the alligator got ferocious, he'd better call the authorities. So he called the police, and the police got Wildlife Removal Inc. to come have the alligator taken back to where it lived. “I had never heard of such an event,” says Pete Wilkins, one of the wildlife wranglers involved in the alligator's capture. “But we've located where the gator came from, so he'll be back home in no time.” It turned out that the gator wasn't wild, but actually from the local New York Africa Zoo (his keeper apparently forgot to lock the cage). Upon his return, the alligator is now happily swimming in the Gator Pond exhibit with his pond-mates and Paul, Dianna and their invited neighbors were finally were able to have their chicken dinner in peace. But why on earth would the alligator come to the Wellworth's in the first place? We put that question to zookeeper Manny Minlens, and she's quoted for saying, "Alligators have a superb sense of smell and the smell of barbecuing chicken probably lured our gator to their house and tried in vain to get into the house." All, I as the reporter can say is that, after reporting on a story like this, it's a fair bet that I'll always remember to see who is knocking before opening the front door!
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond
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