Gator spotted along Chicago River caught

August 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) VIDEO: ABC7's Paul Meincke on the gator search

He was reportedly rounded up about 2 a.m. Friday. The gator was safely brought to Animal Care and Control.

The alligator caught some rays on a rock below the Damen bridge Thursday afternoon. Right by the Vienna Beef plant. Maybe there's logic to his location.

German Lopez, working nearby, spotted the gator, thought he was hallucinating. He told his boss who confirmed he wasn't and called animal control.

"He say there are not many gators around and a long way from Florida to come here. I said, 'Lady, I told what I seen it," said Alex Rodrriguez.

The police marine unit came out, but Mr. Gator said, "Forget you. I'm not staying." The police left, and sure enough, a while later, Mr. Gator came back. And he just sat, minding his own business until a speed boat came busting by and wrecked the moment. Hey, what's this?

If you're conjuring up an image of this little three-footer growing into something like this Serenghetti croc ripping fish to shreds, don't worry. Our small friend is not an aggressor - yet.

He swam away, unaware that he was heading directly at two oncoming ducks. They saw him and said, "Whoa," and he said, "I'm going under." There would be no great sea battle this day.

Regrettably, young Mr. Gator was probably someone's pet, and he got too big or they got tired of him, and they pitched him in the river.

So as the sun lowered on this wild kingdom Thursday - and the kayakers paddled downriver - somewhere out there was young Mr. Gator wondering what tomorrow will bring.

It's happened many times before even though it's illegal in Illinois to have gators and crocs as pets. Just last year, a much bigger alligator was recovered from Bubbly Creek, along the South Branch of the Chicago River. After its capture, it was sent to the Michigan City Zoo. They may be leery of people, but don't mess.

"It's not a mammal. It doesn't understand, 'I like you. I pet you. You're friendly.' It understands food, warmth, protection," said Bob, Chicago Herpetological Society, the man who eventually found the gator while searching for him in his canoe.

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