Another alligator spotted in Chicago River

August 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Earlier this month, an alligator was caught on the Northwest Side. Another alligator has been seen in the same area near Melrose and Rockwell.

There's a lemonade stand, photos for sale -- even stuffed alligators. The gator has become a celebrity in the 24 hours the neighborhood discovered he was among them. But during his infrequent appearances above water, the star attraction seems unfazed. He's simply taking it all in.

"He was moving, he was alive. He was ready to do something. He looked hungry," said area resident Donna Berry.

Kayakers and boaters who went through the area all day Monday were apparently unconcerned about the alligator in their midst. Linda Braash got to within about ten feet and got a pretty good look.

"This one is small enough. There was a sea gull that floated up to it, within a foot. And the alligator went under water to get away from the sea gull. So, I figure I'm safe," said Braash.

Sararose Krenger first noticed the alligator from a boat Sunday night and even named him.

"Sherman. I saw him and it just, it fit. It came to mind," said Krenger.

Experts believe he's about three years old and close to three feet long weighing about a few pounds. He's likely spent his life as a pet in a cage and is ill-equipped to be out in the river. But he still has a mouth full of 80 razor-sharp teeth and he could be dangerous if provoked.

Reptile expert Alligator Bob of the Herpetological Society has set up traps using chicken legs as bait. He hopes to catch him soon for the gator's own good.

"These animals don't know how to hibernate. They will die. So he's just signed his death warrant. If we don't catch it, it will die," said Bob.

Once experts catch the alligator, they hope to send him to an animal hospital where they'll watch over him for several months to make sure he's healthy. Then they plan to be able to send him to a gator farm somewhere in the south.

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