Everyone knows an alligator’s natural habitat, the freshwater swamps, marshes and rivers usually found in the southern United States. They’re a common sight in states like Florida and Louisiana.
You never expect to see one in New York—which is why it’s so surprising that two recent incidents happened within a week of each other.
It’s part of a mysterious uptick in alligators showing up in northern states.
The first incident occurred on Long Island on July 20. It was in the middle of a heatwave, and the Baron family, from Bayport, was looking forward to a dip in their pool.
But they were surprised to see someone swimming in there already: a baby alligator.
Joseph Baron discovered the gator, first thinking it was a stick. He was shocked to realize what it really was.
“I see legs attached to it and I look, and I’m like, ‘No way,’” he told CBS 2. “You know that rush that comes over your body? I turn to [my daughter] Sydney and I’m like, ‘Sydney, there’s an alligator in the pool.”
While the little gator was reportedly very quick-moving and did his best to evade the family, the Barons were able to catch him with the pool net and put him in a tank.
They contacted the SPCA, and now the gator is set to be released back in the south. But the question remains how he ended up on Long Island in the first place—and whether or not he was born natively.
“Alligators, as far as I know, they are not native to Long Island, so I don’t know if someone brought it up from Florida or who is raising alligators in their house?” Sydney said. “It’s a little scary.”
And just days later, there was another New York alligator sighting.
On July 23, a man named Don Walters was in the woods in Staten Island, looking for bait. Then something caught his attention.
“I saw something splashing in the water,” Walters told the Staten Island Advance. “I thought it was a muskrat.” He was shocked to discover what it really was: a three-foot alligator.
“I’ve seen skunk, groundhogs, beaver, Fox deer… an alligator? Go figure,” Walters told NBC New York.
Walters happened to be a Florida native, so his instinct was to catch the gator himself. He was able to wrangle the gator with his net, and managed to tape its mouth shut while he waited for police.
The police, meanwhile, took a little convincing: “Like three times I had to say it was an alligator,” Don’s wife Kim said. But the police soon arrived and took the animal to Brooklyn Animal Care Shelter.
Officer Caldararo and Officer Reyes responded to a call of a found alligator in the wooded area of Cranford Avenue & Park Street. The alligator was safely removed and brought to the Brooklyn Animal Care Shelter @NYCACC! pic.twitter.com/k8OR4SmhHj
— NYPD 122nd Precinct (@NYPD122Pct) July 24, 2019
No one can seem to explain all these sudden alligator sightings in New York. Maybe the gators are just tourists taking a trip for summer vacation, and they got lost on their way to Times Square.
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