There’s an alligator loose in Chicago, experts can’t catch it

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An alligator floats in the Humboldt Park Lagoon, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Chicago. Officials couldn’t say how the creature got there, but traps are being placed around the lagoon in hopes the animal will swim into one and be safely removed. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (WBBM) — A reptile expert known as “Alligator Bob” is continuing his search for a 4-foot alligator in the lagoon at Humboldt Park, after the toothy reptile was spotted in the water on Tuesday.

A volunteer animal expert from the Chicago Herpetological Society, Alligator Bob set out humane traps overnight, after spending hours Tuesday paddling around the lagoon, trying to trap the gator.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police and Chicago Animal Care and Control teams also helped check the shores of the lagoon, but have not had any luck trapping the alligator.

It was first spotted early Tuesday morning. Chicago police have said a pet owner might have released the alligator into the pond.

“People go to southern states, they buy a stupid little alligator, think it is adorable, and they bring it home. And it’s six inches long. The next year it’s two feet. In the next year three feet, and then it can bite you and tear some serious flesh,” said Alligator Bob.

Although it was spotted swimming around in the lagoon again around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Alligator Bob said it could take days to catch the reptile.

“When I get near him with a net or a noose or something, he’s – the closest I’ve got is 40 feet – so he’s scared,” he said. “Every time we got near him, he played the submarine, and went buried down. Then we can’t find him. The water’s too murky to see him. If it was clear, we’d have a better chance.”

When the alligator eventually is trapped, it will be taken to an animal sanctuary or zoo so it can be quarantined and examined by a veterinarian.

Chicago Animal Care & Control executive director Kelley Gandurski said, because the alligator isn’t indigenous to Illinois, it will need a warmer climate to survive long-term.

In a separate incident in October of 2018, CBS 2 reported a kayaker out fishing for salmon on Lake Michigan found a four-foot long American alligator.

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