Exotic reptile ‘with very big teeth’ discovered in Pennsylvania park, photos show
An exotic, “alligator-like reptile” was recently discovered by a fisherman in a Pennsylvania park, according to wildlife experts and WPVI.
Police officers were called to FDR Park in South Philadelphia, where they called in Animal Care and Control Team Philly to help rescue the creature, according to the animal control service provider.
When animal rescuers with ACCT Philly arrived, they found a caiman that officers had tied up with police tape, WPVI reported.
Caimans, which are amphibious carnivores related to alligators, are native to Central and South America, according to Britannica. They typically live along bodies of water.
“We are grateful to our Animal Protection Officers Don and Connor for getting him safely and humanely and ensuring that no one was hurt,” ACCT Philly said in a March 5 Facebook post.
The caiman, which has since been named “Cay man,” was taken to hang out in an ACCT Philly office — “so that he doesn’t scare our small critters.” His stay will be short lived, as a rescue organization is planning to take him in.
ACCT Philly believes the caiman was abandoned by someone who was trying to raise the non-native reptile as a pet.
It measured 3 feet long, and they can reach 5 feet long as adults, WPVI reported.
“It’s huge, and with very big teeth,” ACCT Philly executive director Sarah Barnett told the outlet.
“If you are struggling to keep your pet, or have decided that having an animal who will grow to be 5 feet long, live up to 40 years, and requires a minimum small studio apartment that is half water (kept at a minimum of 70 degrees) was not the wisest decision you made, please DO NOT simply release them,” the organization said on Facebook.
Abandoned reptiles will have a tough time adapting to life in Pennsylvania, experts said, and they are harmful to the native ecosystem. It is also illegal to abandon animals in the state.
If you have an animal you cannot keep, ACCT Philly asks you to reach out to them for help.
Volunteer stole alligator egg or hatchling and raised it for 20 years, Texas zoo says
‘Lethargic’ alligator pulled from lake in NYC. Mystery remains of how it got there
Owner abandoned alligator in plastic bin, NJ shelter says. Now it’s getting a new home