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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 11-24-2005, 05:42 PM   #1
Clay Davenport
Two-foot gator found roaming Longmont pond

LONGMONT — They called the critter “Dundee.”

Close. But not quite.

The reptile that three Longmont men say they captured in a pond near the D-Barn next to the trails on the east side of Main Street is most likely an American alligator, not a crocodile, said Ann Elizabeth Nash, director of the Colorado Reptile Humane Society, based in Longmont.

The gator is slightly longer than 2 feet, but Nash said it will grow to more than 10 feet long. Nash identified the animal by photos.

A man who gave his name as James Nelson said he and two friends were riding bikes along the trail Tuesday when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye, heard a screech and saw the splash. They went to investigate and said the small alligator surfaced and watched them.

“That sucker’s fast, real fast,” said Nelson’s friend, who identified himself at Justin Taylor.

Nelson, Taylor and Edgar Flores said they watched the alligator for a while Tuesday. They said they returned Wednesday and used a net to capture it.

Nelson taped its jaws closed so they wouldn’t get bitten and put the creature in a standard-sized bookbag to figure out their next step.

Wednesday afternoon they were still trying to determine what to do with Dundee. They called pet stores and were considering calls to animal control and veterinarians.

Nash said it’s likely the alligator was a pet that someone abandoned at the pond. If it is really an American alligator, it cannot be kept as a pet, she said.

Windi Padia, district wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said the abandonment of the exotic animal in Colorado hurts the animal and the pond in which it was released.

It is unlikely that it would have survived as the weather got colder, she said.

Padia said a pet store won’t buy the animal from the men because it cannot be resold. She suggested that the animal be placed with the Colorado Reptile Humane Society until arrangements could be made for it to live in the proper environment.

According to information on the American alligator on the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Web site, the animal is native to Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The site also notes that the alligators grow to an average 13 feet long.


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