A Yarmouth woman surprised her family and friends on Saturday when she came home from the beach with a 13-foot, 1,025-pound alligator.
Mary Peagram, 58, was still in a state of shock as she described what happened.
“I was doing a spot of crabbing off the pier with my grandson, Trigger. He caught a few tiny crabs, and asked me if I wanted a go. I lowered the hook, baited with a small lugworm, and next thing I know, I was nearly pulled into the sea. It happened so quickly.”
Mary, who is only 5 feet tall and weighs just 7 stone, had to hook the alligator with a fishing pole then battled him for two hours to get him out of the sea. The alligator was then taken by tractor to a nearby processing plant.
“They cut up the meat and I went to fetch it home this morning,” said Mary. “It’s downstairs in the freezer. My husband Gareth and I are looking forward to a lot of Alligator burgers this winter. It'll make a change from the bear meat,” she said. Last year, Mary wrestled and stabbed a 10 ft grizzly bear that she came across whilst walking in the woods near Sandown.
Mary admits that she seems to have a fatal attraction for unusual animals: "I don't know why these things seem to happen to me. It's become a bit of a joke in the family now. Last week, I threw a handful of breadcrumbs out in the garden for the blackbirds, and an Osprey dived down. I threw a small stone at it, just to frighten it away, and I actually killed it.
A taxidermist was today getting the alligator ready to be displayed in the couple’s home, where trophies from many other of Mary's surprise encounters are on show. As well as the bear and osprey there are a moose, a mountain lion, a basking shark and a giraffe.
"It's getting to the point where I almost dare not leave the house - we're running out of display space!"