The reptile legions of the Animal Uprising™ have launched their summer offensive, sending alligators to invade Virginia this year. A woman in Reston, Virginia had to wrestle on of the beasts into a guinea pig container to keep it from chowing down on the neighborhood children.
Erin Kemp has had lots of practice rounding up her kids' guinea pigs, so capturing a stray alligator that wandered into her Reston neighborhood Monday night seemed like no big deal.
"You see it on Animal Planet," said Kemp, who watched the late Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter," do it lots of times on his popular TV show.
"I wasn't really scared," she said. "It was kind of exciting."
Kemp, 45, a stay-at-home mom, spotted the 2 1/2 -foot-long gator when she was taking out the garbage about 6 p.m. It noticed her, too.
"It was definitely coming after me; it was not friendly," Kemp said.
She told her neighbor, Erin Miller, 9, who was out walking her dog and also saw the gator, to run for it. Before grabbing the pen she uses to corral the guinea pigs, Kemp made sure her own kids and the family pets were all safely inside.
Then she called Fairfax County Animal Control for backup.
As neighbors started gathering — and her 16-year-old daughter slipped back outside to watch — Kemp tried to single-handedly capture the gator, but it bolted. In the panic that ensued, Kemp picked up the pen again and threw it over the gator while her daughter tried to toss a towel over its head to subdue it.
Ah, the towel on the alligator trick. We here at Blue Crab Boulevard would like to draw Ms. Kemp's attention to the little disclaimer that runs at the bottom of the television screen that says, "Don't try this at home." Authorities in Australia have seen a large increase in the number of poisonous snake bites in recent years as people tried to emulate what they saw Irwin do on television.