Humboldt Park alligator caught after a week, trapper throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
'Chance the Snapper' caught, trapper throwing out first pitch at Cubs game
EMBED <>More Videos

After more than a week of evading trappers, an elusive alligator named Chance the Snapper by fans has finally been caught.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Humboldt Park alligator, nicknamed "Chance the Snapper," was captured by alligator expert Frank Robb Tuesday morning after spending a week in the northwest side park's lagoon.

Leadership from Chicago Animal Care and Control and the Chicago Park District confirmed the gator was safely and humanely caught by a wildlife expert.

In celebration, Robb threw out the first pitch at Tuesday night's Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

Robb hobnobbed with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, took selfies with fans and soaked up the spotlight before heading back home to Florida.

"He was exhausted, too, I'm sure," Robb said. "When it comes to an alligator, specifically, they've got to be a bit of a team player. If they don't give you a little bit, then you're not going to ever catch one."

Robb was literally hot on the alligator's tail after an intensive 30 hour search, reeling in the more than five-foot-long reptile around 1:30 a.m. on the northwest side of the Humboldt Park Lagoon.

Neither human nor gator was injured.

"When we first saw him, he went down for a minute. Then he vocalized. He popped back up. And one cast, and it was a done deal," said Robb.

WATCH: Alligator trapper Frank Robb describes how he caught the elusive 'Chance the Snapper'

Several trappers were called in to catch the non-native creature that's been lurking in the lagoon, since Monday. Officials believe the gator was illegally dumped by its owner.

Though crowds had flocked to catch a glimpse of the gator, Robb had much of the park shut down as if to signal to the reptile that its time was up.

"We needed quiet. We needed to have the place shut down for a while and let the animal relax, so he would give us an opportunity," he said.

Now officials are working out details with a zoo or a sanctuary so Chance the Snapper can live out the rest of his life in peace.

"We are just so proud of Chicago for coming together, for Chicago's care and concern," said Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control. "This is the city of big shoulders, but it's also the city of big hearts. And especially big hearts for animals."

Chance the Snapper's fandom extends from T-shirts to cocktails named after him, uniting residents who have been following this story for the last week. Some of his fans are sad to see him go.

"I live right by the park so I came out to today and it's pretty amazing. I just want to know where he's at so I can go look at him," said Pablo Pizaro.

The man who inspired the alligator's name, Chance The Rapper, was on Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night. He was asked to deliver a message to Chance the Snapper.

"Keep your head up. They got you locked down. They can have your body but they can't have your mind," Chance said.

Chance also announced that he's about to debut his very first album. It's called "The Big Day" and comes out on July 26.

It is a misdemeanor to have a pet alligator in the state of Illinois, and it is also illegal to release a pet into a public park.

Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, said she appreciates Chicagoans' concerns for the welfare of the gator. She hopes to see the same interest in cats and dogs at CACC.

"Chicago's homeless animals that will make good pets need you too," she said.

A Chicago police investigation into who released the alligator is ongoing.