A second gator that was on the loose and last seen in the Tioughnioga River near Whitney Point this weekend was captured Monday afternoon.
A week after state environmental officials captured a 3-foot alligator in Whitney Point — taking it to a wildlife refuge in Harpursville — they got a report of another alligator by the river.
The second alligator was captured by state environmental officials near the Broome County fairgrounds, in the same area as the first a week before.
Officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said the alligator is 45 inches long and weighs 15 pounds. It, like the first, has been taken to Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville.
The DEC received a report from state police of an alligator sighting near Whitney Point in the Tioughnioga River on Sunday, but details were scant, said Lori Severino, public information officer with the DEC. At that time, DEC’s Environmental Conservation Officers were dispatched to investigate, but were unable to confirm the presence of an alligator.
There is no confirmed explanation of how the alligators got to Whitney Point, Severino said. DEC officials did not say whether they suspect both alligators were abandoned by the same person.
It is illegal to keep an alligator as a pet in New York and it is possible that an individual obtained an alligator out of state, kept it as a pet until it became too large to care for and released it into the waters.
“The saga continues,” stated Whitney Point Mayor Ryan Reynolds on Facebook.
Reynolds posted to Facebook saying state police have seen a second gator. Once again, the DEC is searching the area, Reynolds said.
The American alligator, or Alligator mississippiensis, range along waterways from North Carolina to Texas’s Rio Grande, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology institute. Alligators are usually found in freshwater, slow-moving rivers. They can also be found in swamps, marshes and lakes.
Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth. As they wear down, they are replaced. An alligator can go through 3,000 teeth in a lifetime, according to the national zoo.
The average female adult is 8.2 feet long; males run around 11.2 feet and reach nearly 1,000 pounds. The gator caught July 29 was 3 feet, 3 inches long.
American alligators live about 50 years in the wild, dining on fish, snails, birds, frogs and mammals at the water’s edge.
On July 29, the DEC caught the first gator and relocated it to the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, where it is being kept in quarantine for two weeks to ensure the animal is disease free before it joins three other alligators.