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Chicago Finds a Feral Alligator

Yesterday Chicago Police pulled a small (five or six feet) alligator from the Chicago River on the near South Side near 37th Street.
This almost certainly was yet another example of a discarded exotic pet that some idiot thought would be cool, then threw out when they finally realized they couldn’t handle it.

But that opens the big question of when it was released and how long was it able to survive in the wild in Chicago? At five feet long, that alligator is probably several years old.

Did it really survive an Illinois winter or was it released this spring? Did it find some industrial water release that keeps water warmer (the trick of some Florida manatees)? According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, alligators can tolerate limited freezing temperatures.

The alligator was captured by two great volunteers from the Chicago Herpetological Society. After tests it will go “back to the South” one of the semi-anonymous volunteers told the Sun-Times.

If it was raised as a pet I doubt it could be released in the wild. I wonder where he’ll go?

The San Diego Zoo says that the American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis “was once considered endangered, but through protection plans, management, and captive propagation it has made a remarkable comeback.”

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