Officials in East Lyme, Connecticut, are investigating a potential alligator sighting, marking the most recent incident involving an American gator outside of its typical habitat.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, East Lyme Public Safety explained that the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection “is investigating the report of an alligator sighting in Powers Lake in East Lyme.”
The post added that the animal “is reported to be one foot in length,” meaning it’s likely a juvenile alligator.
Residents who may have spotted the reptile or have additional information were encouraged to call the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in the post.
According to NBC CT, officials cannot yet confirm that the sighting was indeed an alligator.
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, American alligators are usually found in the southern half of the country, “from North Carolina to the Rio Grande in Texas.”
The reptiles mostly live in slow-moving rivers, swamps, marshes and lakes, and usually grow to be 8-11 feet in length.
Though they’re native to the southern states, Patch.com notes that the animals are often relocated illegally to the north as pets, and are then disposed of in lakes, streams and sewers when they become too large for their owners to handle them.
The potential Connecticut sighting marks the second time in recent weeks that an alligator has been seen outside of its likely habitat.
On Tuesday, a 5-foot-long alligator that had been causing havoc in Chicago’s Humboldt Park was caught. The reptile had been spotted peeking its head above the water by park visitors last week, with cops confirming its presence in the Humboldt Park lagoon after a brief investigation, which forced a partial shutdown of the park.
Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago’s Animal Care and Control, told CNN that the gator was likely taken to the Chicago lagoon and left there by someone who owned the reptile as a pet.
Gandurski added that the city has about one alligator-related incident each year, despite the animal not being native to the region.