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Five-foot alligator spotted in Chicago lagoon

11 July 2019

Chicago police received unconfirmed reports on social media early Tuesday that a possible alligator was seen swimming in the Humboldt Park lagoon in the city's busy West Side.

The police "independently confirmed the alligator is in the lagoon", Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Gugliemi said via Twitter. "Give him space and let him humanely catch our new friend", Chicago's 14th District Police Department said on Wednesday in response to several offers of help on Twitter.

With gators being a non-native species to the Chicago area, some locals have speculated that the scaly creature was once a pet, and was dumped into the lagoon by an individual who either grew exhausted of the reptile or was simply unable to continue caring for it.

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It's still unclear how the animal found its way into the Chicago lagoon, but, Chicago Animal Care and Control reports, the alligator is not native to the region and was most likely kept as a pet before being released into the water.

It "will probably be scared and try to hide", she added.

Alligators can go up to two months without eating, and capturing the critter could be time consuming, said Rich Crowley, president of the Chicago Herpetological Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to reptiles and amphibians. "He's gonna be looking for a better place to sleep".

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Authorities aim to have the animal, estimated to be four to five feet (1.2-1.5 meters) long, humanely trapped and relocated to a zoo for veterinary evaluation, Guglielmi said.

Strangely enough, this isn't the first alligator to grace Chicago waters. But police are asking people to stay out of the water. Last year, a 4-foot-long gator was removed from Lake Michigan with its mouth taped shut.

Another witness said he "clearly" saw the gator with its eyes above the water and speculated that the animal had been ditched there by its previous owner. He works with Chicago officials to capture exotic animals, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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Five-foot alligator spotted in Chicago lagoon