Shawnee, Okla., animal control officers Tuesday snagged a 3-foot American alligator. An unknown caller reported seeing the reptile in the parking lot behind a Mexican restaurant.
Shawnee animal control officers Tuesday snagged a 3-foot American alligator in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant.
Animal control officers responded to the scene after an unknown caller reported the reptile, and they quickly captured the gator, taping its jaw shut for safety.
Chris Thomas, administrator of the animal control division, said officials believe the gator was someone’s pet and possibly came from a nearby apartment complex.
The alligator was taken to the Shawnee Animal Shelter. Thomas said state law makes it illegal for anyone to keep an alligator as a pet.
Mike France, game warden for Pottawatomie County, said he’s certain this alligator was someone’s pet that either got loose or was let go intentionally because it was getting too big.
“This is not a native alligator,” France said.
He plans to take the reptile to a wildlife management area where it can live in its natural habitat.
Alligators on average grow about a foot in length for each year of life. France estimates this alligator is between 2 and 3 years old.
Randy Newton, Shawnee animal control supervisor, said the American alligator isn’t uncommon in Oklahoma, especially in the far southeastern corner of the state.
Kim Morava may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.