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Alligator visits Florida hair salon: ‘Girls, get inside and lock the door!’

UPDATED: Fri., May 3, 2019

An alligator trapper pulls a live alligator from a canal on Friday, April 5, 2019, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. An alligator gave staff and patrons of a Florida hair salon a scare Tuesday when it showed up on the sidewalk outside the strip-mall business. (Brynn Anderson / AP)
An alligator trapper pulls a live alligator from a canal on Friday, April 5, 2019, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. An alligator gave staff and patrons of a Florida hair salon a scare Tuesday when it showed up on the sidewalk outside the strip-mall business. (Brynn Anderson / AP)
By Tiffini Theisen Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. – Maybe it just needed a deep conditioning.

An alligator gave staff and patrons of a Florida hair salon a scare Tuesday when it showed up on the sidewalk outside the strip-mall business.

Officers from the Port Richey Police Department arrived and herded the gator to a nearby retention pond.

“Nobody, including the gator was injured!” the department posted on its Facebook page.

Maria Richards, who has owned Hair Obsessions for 14 years this month, was working alongside two employees that busy afternoon and had no idea about the scaly visitor until she got a phone call from a woman who sounded frantic.

“There’s an alligator out your door!” the caller said in a panicked voice.

Richards and her employees rushed over to the window just in time to see the caller sitting in a red SUV.

“I look outside and I see the lady driving away and there’s the alligator!” Richards said.

The small gator was a few feet away from their door, so they went outside to get a closer look. That’s when the creature started making its way toward the salon employees with its mouth open.

Richards shouted: “Girls, get inside and lock the door!”

On Friday, recalling the incident, the New Jersey native explained: “I’m a little scared. I’ve never even had a dog; I’m not an animal person.”

As they waited for police to arrive, they saw the alligator run under cars as people were going right up to it taking photos.

The salon borders a heavily wooded area that includes a few ponds. It’s just south of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The encounter was Richards’ first with Florida’s unofficial mascot.

“It was tiny, but it looked big in person. Big enough.”

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