Chicago Alligator Captured Far From Home
By: Susan Harris
Published: Aug 25, 2021
Chicago alligator was found and captured in a river far from its southern habitat.
Chicago alligator captured far from home. An alligator seen hanging around in the Chicago River was captured, and it's only a southern habitat. Alligators have also been spotted in Massachusetts and in New York City in recent days.
Alligators don't normally travel to the north, but since spring, the reptiles have been seen. The gators have been found in Fargo, North Dakota, eastern Missouri, upstate New York, Massachusetts, rural Indiana, Ohio and a Detroit suburb. Experts say the creatures almost certainly were pets that escaped or were dumped by their owners.
That's because they probably couldn't have survived the winter in colder climates. Experts say it's not the latest sign of global warming. On Tuesday, a volunteer from the Chicago Herpetological Society snared a 3-foot-long alligator with a net -- three weeks after capturing a 2 1/2-foot gator in the same area.
"People buy them as pets and then they get too big and at some point they decide they just can't deal with it," Kent Vliet, an alligator expert from the University of Florida who tracks media reports about the reptiles, said in a statement. In the past three years, he said, there have been at least 100 instances of alligators showing up in more than 15 states where they're not native. North Carolina is the farthest north that alligators are found naturally.