Student Discovers Ride-Sharing With Gators Not Legal in Maine

Or keeping gators at all without a permit, as taxi passenger finds out
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2017 4:34 PM CDT
Not the baby gators who hitched a ride in a Maine taxi.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

(Newser) – A cab driver transporting a college student in Maine discovered he had five other surprise passengers: a handful of baby alligators. Per, Frank Folsom says on Tuesday he picked up a 20-year-old IDed as Yifan Sun, a student from China who's studying at the University of Maine at Augusta, and when they stopped at a convenience store, an open box Sun was carrying tipped over and the tiny gators started scurrying around the taxi. After helping Sun get the reptiles back into the box, Folsom stopped at a store to get a closed plastic container for them, then drove Sun to his destination: a local bus station.

Cops were waiting for the taxi by the time they arrived—Folsom speculates someone at the convenience store saw the creatures, which are a restricted species in Maine, per WGME—and Sun, via an interpreter, told police a pal in Alabama had sent him the alligators a couple of months earlier, in exchange for which Sun sent his friend a turtle. He added he was on his way from Augusta to Waterville to visit another friend, who he revealed was a UPS worker he hoped could help him ship the gators to Texas in a swap for a tegu lizard. Animal Game wardens took custody of the gators, while Sun was hit with a charge of importing or possessing wildlife without a permit. (It would've been harder to hide this 800-pound gator in a cab.)

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