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HOME   Annoyed Alligator Invades Yard, Eats Pet Dog

Friday, March 19, 1999

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A 7-foot, 175-pound (79 kg) alligator that was pushed out of its natural feeding grounds by development in Rio de Janeiro resorted to dining on local pets, authorities said.

The ravenous reptile invaded a home near a swampy nature park Thursday and gulped down the owner's dog along with four chickens that were in the yard, police said.

It took four officers from Rio's environment patrol squad 30 minutes to subdue the alligator. They were able to wrestle the reptile onto a stretcher and ship it unharmed to a zoo.

``It's inevitable that this happens. The city is encroaching on the habitat of the alligators. They end up leaving the Lagoinha (swamp) because of the annoyances or for lack of food,'' said Rio Zoo Foundation President Marcio Martins.

Trapped between mountains and sea, Brazil's second-biggest city, after Sao Paulo, has expanded sideways to the east, pushing into tropical jungle and displacing wildlife.

Builder Severino Jose da Silva, 37, who lives on a canal in the fast-growing Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighborhood, said he had seen alligators wander near his home before, but none had gotten this close.

``I don't like living here. I'm afraid. But I don't have anywhere else to go,'' he said.

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