An alligator on Long Island? Man surrender his 5-foot gator to officials

Suffolk County SPCA
Photo credit Suffolk County SPCA

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Suffolk County officials had a person turn over an alligator to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Suffolk County SPCA on Wednesday.

The owner of Zachary, a 9-year-old American Alligator, surrendered the reptile to the NYSDEC Police and Suffolk County SPCA. The owner purchased the 5-foot alligator out of state, said Suffolk County SPCA chief Chief Roy Gross.

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Authorities said the owner did not have a permit to own the alligator in New York State and could no longer care for it.

According to Gross, the reptile would be transported to a licensed wildlife sanctuary.

"Alligators do not make good pets, are a danger to the public, and are illegal to own without a permit from the NYSDEC," Gross said.

Suffolk County SPCA
Photo credit Suffolk County SPCA

The Suffolk County SPCA is reminded residents to be careful of reptiles found in the wild and not to touch or approach them.

"Alligators possess a keen sense of hearing, allowing them to determine the source of sounds. In the past, 22 alligators had been illegally released in one year on Long Island endangering the public," Gross noted.

If you spot a dangerous reptile, please do not try to touch or handle it. Call professionals, like the Suffolk County SPCA or NYSDEC who can handle these animals and get them to proper sanctuaries, officials warned.

Authorities said they are offering owners of these exotic animals the opportunity to surrender without penalty or charges for illegal possession.

Anyone who sees an abandoned reptile is asked to call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722 or NYSDEC Police at 631-444-0250.