Gator Girl - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Gator Girl

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Gator fans you'll find them everywhere you look in South Florida. Not to worry, gator haters we're talking reptiles, not college football. When it comes to wrestling alligators, the big boys at Everglades Holiday Park are taking a back seat to a fierce female.

Ashley Lawrence jumped at the chance to be part of Animal Planet's Gator Boys. The show's based at Everglades Holiday Park, where this four-foot-eleven gator girl lives out her dream every day.

Ashley Lawrence: "As a little kid you know I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but as time progressed I realized I wanted to work with the animals."

We're not talking furry puppies and cute kittens. Ashley hunted down the big game.

Ashley Lawrence: "I started working with wolves in high school as soon as I graduated. I started working with big cats and I knew right away that I wanted to work with predators and the big scary animals the big bad wolf that sort of stuff."

Where do you go after you work with wolves and tigers? You move on to alligators, of course.

Ashley Lawrence: "I started seeing some of the guys at the same park working with the alligators and they were swimming with them and that just intrigued me."

If she wanted to dive in to a gig wrestling gators, Ashley knew it would take brains, not brawn to get the job done.

Ashley Lawrence: "For me, I rely on animal behavior you know, I'm not as huge and strong and burly as some of the other gator wrestlers. They get away with a lot of stuff on strength. Reading the animal's body language helps me a lot."

Doesn't matter how strong your skill set is, a gator's gonna do what a gator's gonna do.

Ashley Lawrence: "With the gators you're working within his comfort zone you know not the other way around, you can't really make him do anything. He doesn't want to do without risk of him throwing you off his back and taking a chunk out of you."

Ashley compares what she does to an activity you'll see at any rodeo.

Ashley Lawrence: "It's kinda like bull riding, you have a spot on his back if you stay in that spot you're pretty safe."

Before we left, we had to ask the question on everyone's mind. Does alligator really taste like chicken?

Ashley Lawrence: "I'm a vegetarian I've never tried alligator."

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