Another Gator Spotted in Chicago River - NBC Chicago

Another Gator Spotted in Chicago River

Experts suspect they're discarded pets



    For the second time in a month, a toothy reptile has been spotted sunning itself in the North Branch of the Chicago River. (Published Monday, Aug. 23, 2010)

    The Chicago River is beginning to resemble the Everglades.

    For the second time this month, an alligator has been spotted sunning himself along the banks of the North Branch of the Chicago River.

    The most recent gator is a little less shy, coming into view of neighbors and wildlife experts while taking a lazy swim down the river early in the day.  It was intially spotted Sunday.

    The gator is between three to five feet in length with a yellow and black striped tail and a green body. 

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images

    "He was kind of hiding under a rock and it looked like he was eating something under water," said 8-year-old Kaleb Berry. 

    "It looks like a baby aligator that's maybe spent a few weeks out there.  It doesn't look like something someone kept recently in a cage.  It looks too big for that, but it looks pretty happy, just hanging out in the sunlight," said Kamran Sadr, who snapped photos of the reptilian visitor.

    It’s unclear where the spate of gators originates, but experts suspect they are discarded pets.

    "This is an alien species.  This is a dangerous animal," said Bob, a volunteer for the Chicago Herpetological Society who declined to give his last name.  "It's an endangered species.  It doesn't belong here where kids can play around.  I mean, there are little kids here.  If they go down there catching frogs or try to fish, and suddenly they reach down to grab a frog, and that frog turns out to be a pair of bulging eyes of an alligator."

    Traps baited with chicken drumsticks and rats have been put out in hopes of catching the gator. 

    On August 6, a 2 ½ foot gator was captured from around the same location.