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'Gator Girl' Christy Kroboth earns $60,000 each year wrangling alligators

In south Texas, residential communities are often built on top of bayous, marshes and swamps, allowing alligators to live dangerously close to small children and pets. It's common to see alligators in backyards, under cars, on golf courses and in shopping center parking lots.

When that happens, residents of Houston turn to Christy Kroboth, also known as "Gator Girl."

Kroboth is a former dental hygienist who now makes her living wrangling reptiles. She and her business partner, Chris Stephens, trap nuisance alligators and relocate them to areas where they'll pose less risk to the community.

CNBC caught up with Kroboth and her business partner, Chris Stephens, outside of the Bayou City sneaking up on a gator – with a fishing rod.
CNBC caught up with Kroboth and her business partner, Chris Stephens, outside of the Bayou City sneaking up on a gator – with a fishing rod.

When a 900-pound alligator that Kroboth dubbed "Godzilla" showed up in the local Home Depot parking lot, 100-pound Kroboth did not hesitate to jump on his back and tie him up.

When this alligator, dubbed "Godzilla," showed up in the local Home Depot parking lot, Kroboth did not hesitate to jump on his back and tie him up.
When this alligator, dubbed "Godzilla," showed up in the local Home Depot parking lot, Kroboth did not hesitate to jump on his back and tie him up.

"It takes a lot of courage," Kroboth tells CNBC. "My mind tells me, 'Stop, get back! It's dangerous!' but the other part tells me, 'That's your job, you gotta get these gators!'"

CNBC caught up with the duo outside of the Bayou City sneaking up on a gator – with a fishing rod. After the gator takes the bait, Stephens reels it in close to the surface, as Kroboth wrangles it with a lasso before wrapping its jaws shut with her signature pink tape.

Christy wrangled this gator with a lasso before wrapping its jaws shut with her signature pink tape.
Christy wrangled this gator with a lasso before wrapping its jaws shut with her signature pink tape.

"I got into the nuisance alligator program because most of the [other] guys… kill the alligators," says Kroboth. "I got into it to beat the guys out there — and take the animal alive."

And Kroboth makes a decent chunk of change doing it.

Hypothetically, if there's a small, three-foot alligator under a car, Kroboth says it will be a quick $100 to $200 to remove it. However, a much larger alligator could cost up to $900. Kroboth and Stephens tell CNBC they trap roughly 150 alligators every year — and each can bank a total of up to $60,000 annually.

"We know we're not going to get rich catching alligators. We do this because we truly love what we do, which is helping these animals," says Kroboth. "I'd rather work with alligators than people any day."

CNBC's Christopher DiLella contributed to this report.

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