NYC Sewer Alligators: Myth or Real?

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The legend of alligators living in the sewers of New York City is a persistent urban myth, but there is some truth to it. While it’s unlikely that there is a thriving population of alligators living in the city’s sewer system, there have been occasional reports of alligators being found in the sewers or other unusual places in New York City.

The story dates back to the 1930s and gained widespread attention in the 1950s. The most famous incident occurred in 1935 when a group of teenagers claimed to have captured a live alligator in the sewer system of New York City. Since then, there have been sporadic reports of alligator sightings in various parts of the city, including in parks, rivers, and even on the streets.

These reports are often attributed to people buying baby alligators as pets and then releasing them when they grow too large to handle. Alligators are not native to New York City, and they cannot survive the cold winters, so they would likely not establish a breeding population in the sewers.

However, it is possible that isolated and short-lived instances of alligators being found in the city’s sewers or other unlikely places have occurred. These incidents are rare and not indicative of a thriving alligator population beneath the city. Therefore, while the myth has some basis in reality, it should be taken with a grain of skepticism, and the idea of a thriving population of alligators in New York City’s sewers is largely a product of urban legend and exaggeration.

4-foot-long alligator named Godzilla was discovered in a New York City park

A 4-foot-long alligator was discovered in a New York City park on the 20th of February 2023 , as reported by city officials, and subsequently, it was transported to a nearby zoo.

This alligator was found within the confines of a lake situated in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, as confirmed by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

The initial sighting occurred on a Sunday morning when park maintenance staff noticed the unusual reptile. They promptly alerted the Parks Enforcement Patrol and Urban Park Rangers.

In a statement, the parks department expressed gratitude to their Parks Enforcement Patrol and Urban Park Rangers for their swift response in capturing and relocating the alligator. The statement also noted that no one had been harmed, and the animal was currently undergoing evaluation.

The alligator, unfortunately, was in a state of poor health and showed signs of extreme lethargy upon discovery, as conveyed by the department. Consequently, it was transported to the Bronx Zoo for rehabilitation.

The origins of how this alligator ended up in Prospect Park remain unknown, according to the parks department. They have not yet publicly identified any individuals responsible for the incident.

The parks department emphasized that parks are not suitable habitats for animals that are not native to those areas, whether they are domesticated or otherwise. Such releases, they explained, can pose dangers to park visitors and have negative consequences for native species and water quality. This particular alligator, being native to warm, tropical climates, was found in a potentially cold-shocked state.

In an update provided, the zoo reported that the female alligator, estimated to be 5 or 6 years old, was still undergoing medical evaluation by veterinarians and animal care staff. In addition to being lethargic and exposed to cold temperatures, the animal was described as “extremely emaciated.” It was brought to the zoo weighing only 15 pounds, significantly underweight for an alligator of its size.

Radiographs revealed that the alligator had ingested a 4-inch wide bathroom stopper, but due to its weakened condition, the stopper could not be removed at that time. The zoo was providing tube-feeding and medication since the alligator was too weak and unresponsive to eat on its own. The next steps in its treatment would depend on its response to these interventions.

The zoo concluded by emphasizing the importance of responsible pet ownership and the potential harm that can come from keeping wild animals as pets. They noted that releasing animals into New York City parks is illegal and urged anyone who encounters an abandoned animal to contact the authorities.

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