Game wardens sneak up on gator spotted in Pennsylvania river – but something was off
When reports of an alligator prowling a Pennsylvania river started coming in to state wildlife officials, they went out on the water to track it down.
They had a photo to go on, taken along the Frankstown Branch Juniata River, but with no sense of scale, they wouldn’t know the size of the alligator until they saw it for themselves, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission said in a March 12 social media post.
A wildlife officer and game warden went to the area the gator was seen, scouring a roughly half-mile stretch of the river, the post said.
“After about 15 minutes, we noticed a long, scaly tail sticking out from undercut tree roots,” the officer said in the post. “As we got closer, it appeared to be an alligator about 3 feet long. But, something seemed out of place.”
The alligator wasn’t moving, the officer said. While alligators are known for being sedentary animals, the critter’s behavior still struck the officer as odd.
“Peering under the roots, I could make out the rest of the body,” the officer said. “I grabbed it by the tail and discovered the alligator that was terrorizing the Frankstown Branch Juniata River was, in fact, a 3-foot-long rubber toy.”
It’s not clear how the toy ended up along the river, if it was placed there as a prank, or if it washed up from elsewhere.
“As an investigator, you never know what may come your way,” the officer said.
Though it’s rare, it wouldn’t be the first time an alligator or similar predator somehow ended up in Pennsylvania’s waterways. In early March, a fisherman was surprised to find a 5-foot caiman living at a park in Philadelphia.
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