CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s been a lot going on this week, so you may not have heard about the alligator, found in a south suburban lake.
It took two days, but some firefighters eventually took a chance on reeling him in, and as CBS 2’s Vi Nguyen shows us, their efforts paid off.
Cell phone video shows the three and a half foot long alligator just moments after it was taken out of the trap. Members of the Lynwood Fire Department used black tape to muzzle the alligator for safety.
“I’m trained as a fireman I can deal with hazardous materials,” said Lynwood Fire Lieutenant Keenan Newton who was part of the search.
“With medical calls, fighting fires and car accidents, alligator capturing is not one of the things they train us,” Newton said.
It began Wednesday afternoon when a neighbor spotted the alligator coming out of a sewer at Lake Lynwood near Crescent Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.
“The water is murky, so it’s hard to see beyond two to three inches of the water itself,” said Newton.
Conservation police and the Chicago Herpetological Society were called in to help. Experts set up baited traps along the shoreline.
“Chicken was the secret recipe. So it’s just a long cage, it has noodles floats in the water and on the end of it was a chicken leg,” Newton said. “And once the alligator grabs it, the back door captures it, chills in the water there until someone comes and grabs them.”
A neighborhood boy named the alligator Alex. They don’t know yet if the alligator is a male or female. But the successful capture reminds Newton of what happened last summer at Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon. Remember Chance the Snapper?
Frank Robb was brought in from Florida last summer to capture the alligator that made national headlines. Newton said he read a lot of articles about that capture.
“We’re a little suburb down here in the south suburbs of Chicago. This is not something that we get,” Newton said.
So how did Alex the alligator ended up in Lake Lynwood? Newton doesn’t know how long the alligator had been in the water, but believes someone might have had it as an illegal pet.
“It’s not a dog. It’s not a cat. Yes they’re cute, but they’re wild animals. Still, they’re going to grow big and when they grow big they can become dangerous,” Newton said.
Alex the alligator is being kept at an undisclosed location. The alligator will have to be quarantined for 30 days after that it will be sent to licensed reptile park somewhere in the south.