By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A six-foot alligator which showed up at the front door of a Baton Rouge-area motel on Wednesday might have departed without incident had it not been for an overly helpful guest, who later checked out of the motel with puncture wounds.
A housekeeper at the Super 8 Motel just off Interstate 10 in Port Allen, Louisiana, spotted the gator as it crossed the driveway toward the motel at about 3 p.m. She called a maintenance worker, who called the hotel manager to come take a look.
"He came up right by our front door to the lobby," Assistant Manager Tiffany Dunnam said. "He was just hanging out there."
Dunnam said guests were more interested than frightened as they gathered around.
"If it had been a 10- or 11-foot gator, it might have been a different story," she said.
A front-desk clerk called the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and the animal control authorities, but before help arrived a motel guest from Mississippi decided to take matters into his own hands.
"He said he had experience with gators and would try to immobilize it," Dunnam said.
The guest may have exaggerated his expertise.
"The gator snapped at him and caught his arm," Dunnam said.
Bleeding from stab-like wounds from the alligator's teeth, the guest drove himself to a nearby hospital, Dunnam said. The guest checked out of the hotel on Thursday morning.
The gator was released Wednesday into a large canal in the northwestern part of West Baton Rouge Parish, said Richard Summers, animal control director for the parish.
When Summers arrived at the scene at the motel, a bit of a crowd had gathered, and the alligator was not in a good mood, he said.
"Apparently people had been fooling with him for 45 minutes before we got there, and he wasn't happy," Summers said.
He said he had no difficulty getting control of the alligator and maneuvering it into his truck. At this time of year, he said, gators sometimes wander away from their habitat and "they just get lost."
(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan)