A fisherman is shocked to find an alligator in a Pennsylvania park lake as wildlife experts criticize an exotic pet owner for getting rid of the creature
- The 3.5-foot creature from the alligator family was found in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia.
- The animal was seen by a fisherman who caught it using only his hands.
- The little ‘crocodile’ sparked a debate online, with many suggesting that it is an alligator, a species native to South America.
A man was fishing in a Philadelphia park when he caught what appeared to be an alligator basking on the rocky shores.
Ike Peyton, of Delaware County, then captured the 3.5-foot creature with his bare hands and taped its jaws shut before reporting it to police.
It was then turned over to the local animal shelter ACCT Philly, who cared for it for a day before turning it over to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The little ‘crocodile’ has now sparked debate online, with many suggesting it is an alligator, a species native to South America, while others claim it is actually an American alligator.
What is certain is that it is a member of the alligator family: releasing any such animal into the wild is illegal in Philadelphia.
Ike Peyton, a Delaware County fisherman, caught the three-and-a-half-foot member of the alligator family barehanded.
Peyton wrapped their jaws with caution tape before reporting it to the police.
The alligator was seen around 10 a.m. on March 5 at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia.
“A lot of people frequent FDR Park, especially on the weekends,” Sarah Barnett, director of ACCT Philly, told DailyMail.com.
She described how the animal, now affectionately known as a Cayman, was brought back to the shelter but had to be housed in her office to prevent it from preying on other animals in her care.
“The room where we usually have dogs and not cats had turtles, bunnies, and guinea pigs. Things they eat,’ she said.
“We’re not experts in the alligator vs. alligator debate, which seems to be very heated,” he said. However, he consulted a zookeeper friend, who told him that he was pretty sure it was an alligator.
Barnett said the creature was initially cold, but after a specialized heater was purchased and installed that day, it began to come back to life.
“He just needed to warm up, once the water warmed up he was more active, he was bright and alert, but he wasn’t running,” he said.
The creature was taken to ACCT Philly, a nearby animal shelter, before being turned over to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission the next day.
It’s unclear exactly how the creature was captured, but one person described on social media how Peyton captured it with her bare hands.
“He found it basking on the shore while fishing, he didn’t catch it on his rod or reel it in. He alerted a nearby policeman about it, then went back downstairs and picked it up before it could launch.” water,’ he added.
In a Sunday post, the ACCT warned people not to release pets into the wild.
“If you have an animal that you can no longer have, including alligators or any other animal that is extremely difficult to house humanely, please contact us instead of just letting them go,” it read.