These stories are becoming more and more common. The funny thing is, look which state they were released in.
Beaver County Times
John Fagan of the Tri-State Herpetological
Society says the captured gator will be
released into the wild in Georgia.
Second alligator spotted in river
By Bob Janis, Times Staff
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,
along comes another alligator.
Hours after a 3-foot juvenile American alligator was caught
Thursday below the Townsend Dam on the Beaver River, another
alligator about the same size floated to the surface about 200
Two police officers and onlookers along Big Rock Park in New
Brighton spotted the second reptile around 6:30 p.m. and tossed
bread to the critter cruising several feet from shore, but the gator
kept out of grabbing distance.
At 10 a.m. Friday, New Brighton Area Police Chief Doug
Adams and Officer Jim Brown stood watch along the river scanning for anything unusual. Adams had tossed a cut-up
chicken into the river two hours earlier as bait.
"I wish it would pop up so I can see it for myself," Adams said. "The chicken is to lure him so I can grab him."
Adams said an alligator was sighted in the river near the park around Monday. But after one was caught Thursday,
no one expected that there would be another swimming around.
Gator No. 1 was caught around 3 p.m. Thursday by Tim Rodriguez, 22, of Rochester while fishing with his girlfriend,
Jennifer Straile, 22, of Rochester and cousin Michael Cancelliere, 12, of Johnstown. The alligator was taken to Keener's
Sports Emporium in East Rochester.
That alligator, which measured 35 inches and weighed about 7 pounds, will eventually find a home in Georgia.
John Fagan of the Tri-State Herpetological Society in Shaler Township operates a reptile rescue service and picked
up the alligator on Friday after being called by New Brighton police. Fagan said the alligator, which is 2 to 3 years old,
will be taken to Georgia and released into the wild by the state's game commission.
"He's big enough to fend for himself," Fagan said. "He looks reasonably healthy, if not a little thin."
Fagan said alligator No. 2, still loose in the Beaver River, does not pose a threat.
"He won't attack anyone in the river because he's still too small," Fagan said. "If you tried to get your hand close to
his mouth, or started messing with him, he'd bite, but he's too small to do a lot of damage."
Fagan said the alligator likely was released by someone who no longer wanted it as a pet.
"You have to be a certain breed of person to raise an alligator," Fagan said. "They grow a foot a year and can get
pretty expensive to feed. Not only that, but their temperament changes as they get older and they can be difficult to
"You own a dog for 13 years, and he still eats about the same amount of food each year and stays about the same
size," Fagan said. "An alligator in 13 years will get 10 to 12 feet long and eat 100 pounds of meat at a time."
It is not illegal to buy or own an alligator in Pennsylvania. They can be bought at pet shops, flea markets, and reptile
swap meets, Fagan said.
Laurena Apple, manager of Aquatic Gardens at 1416 Seventh Ave., Beaver Falls, sells fish and reptiles, and has two
baby alligators about a foot long for sale at $239.99 each.
"They're not for everybody," Apple said. "People get them when they're small because they're cute, but then they
get a little big and nippy, and they will get rid of them."
Apple said she often gets calls from alligator owners looking to unload their pets.
"We've probably had about 10 calls in the last three weeks from people trying to get rid of their gators," Apple said.
"We would have 100 alligators in the store if we took every one that was looking for a home."
Apple said she tells the callers to keep looking around. She also tells them not to release the alligators.
Apple had some tips for would-be alligator hunters.
"If that alligator in the river keeps coming in for food, he should be able to get caught with a big net," Apple said.
"They like to hang out on a warm day on a log or in the sun."
Reptile Rescue's Fagan said it is possible for the gator to survive the winter if it finds a warm-water discharge pipe in
"He can stay near the warm water all winter without eating in a state of semihibernation," Fagan said. "His
metabolism would drop, but he would survive."
A message from the webmaster: That second alligator was later captured. Please, no matter how cool you
think it would be to have a pet alligator, do not buy these animals from anyone, even a reputable dealer.
Alligators are not native to Pennsylvania and do not belong in this state. They can survive here, but only to the
detriment of the local, native species of fish and other wildlife. As the story stated, too many people buy them
only to get rid of them within a few years. Sooner or later, someone will be seriously injured by one of these
alligators that have been released into the river because they're too big for the owner to handle.
Other wildlife stories in this section:
Lion / Alligator 1
Copyright © 2003 Sheila Rae Myers
10,000 years ago we would have eaten you. Today, we drag you along and allow you to pollute the gene pool.