As the sun sets on a third day of a fruitless search for the Midwest’s most elusive alligator, people keep showing up to the Humboldt Park lagoon to see if they can catch a glimpse of the creature.
Crowds have been gathering for days, turning the hunt for the reptile into a summer hangout. Some visitors are even dressing up for the unofficial gator party.
That crowd includes Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull, who came out for the festivities on Thursday.
Many residents who have come to the lagoon have spotted brief glimpses of the gator.
“We decided to come out this morning to see if we could find it, and then we actually saw it,” one visitor said.
The smell of alligator is even floating through the air, as vendors sold alligator sausages near the lagoon.
As the area around the lagoon has grown more crowded, the Chicago Park District has put up fencing and signs warning people to keep their distance.
Animal Control officials are still trying to trap the gator, and a specialist nicknamed “Gator Bob” has been helping spearhead efforts to capture the 4-to-5-foot reptile, giving him a brief stint as a local celebrity that draws crowds wherever he goes.
“Gator Bob” has been setting up traps around the lagoon, and has increased his efforts in recent hours. The expert does caution that alligators can go a week between meals, and that the murky water is providing excellent hiding options.
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the alligator, officials are urging visitors to stay away from the water’s edge, and are asking residents to allow professionals to do their work in trying to locate the creature.