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Zachary, a 9-year-old, 5-foot American alligator, has a new home after his owner — who surprisingly is not a “Florida man” — turned over the reptile to authorities last week.
The alligator was surrendered Aug. 3 to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Suffolk County SPCA.
Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County SPCA said “Zachary” was surrendered to NYSDEC Police and Suffolk County SPCA by the owner, who had purchased the alligator out of state, did not have a permit to own it in New York State and could no longer care for it.
SPCA shared photos of “Zachary” taken in their offices. They said he’ll be taken to a licensed wildlife sanctuary.
Gross said “alligators do not make good pets, are a danger to the public, and are illegal to own without a permit from the NYSDEC.”
The Suffolk County SPCA reminded residents in New York of what most Florida residents know all too well — be careful of reptiles found in the wild and don’t touch or approach them.
Alligators possess a keen sense of hearing, allowing them to determine the source of sounds, the Suffolk County SPCA warned. In the past, 22 alligators were illegally released in one year on Long Island, endangering the public.
If you spot a dangerous reptile, please do not try to touch or handle it. In Florida, you can report any concerns about wild alligators to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline. 866-392-4286. For more on the state’s Nuisance Alligator Program, click here.