The 10-foot-long, 450-pound alligator tries to eat Russ Johnson for lunch nearly every time Johnson steps into Clem’s (very secure) pen.
Such are the challenges of the Phoenix Herpetological Society’s president and protector of all scaly creatures.
The society quickly responds when dangerous or exotic reptiles _ from Gila monsters to diamondback rattlers _ are in distress. More than a thousand animals live at the sanctuary in northeast Scottsdale.
Johnson fetches the dehydrated, ill or neglected. Many end up being adopted by zoos or educational institutions once they’re in good health; those legal to own _ bearded dragon lizards or desert tortoises included _ may be adopted as pets.
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