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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 09-16-2007, 01:19 AM   #1
Clay Davenport
Alligator captured in Virginia Beach pond

An alligator is no longer at large at the Oceanfront.

Two men from ZooPro Wildlife Removal Inc., a private service, caught the critter after a resident of Lake Drive spotted the 3 -foot-long gator sunning itself on the grass near Lake Holly on Monday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, police reported seeing two alligators in the lake. However, it's uncertain whether another one is actually out there.

"Only time's going to tell for sure," Animal Control Supervisor Steve Kemper said Monday, shortly after holding the captured yellow-and-black gator in his arms.

Witnesses who spoke with The Virginian-Pilot and the co-owners of ZooPro said they had seen only the one animal.

They think it was released into the lake by someone who had the young reptile as a pet illegally. Virginia requires a permit to keep alligators.

If there is another gator on the loose, authorities said they don't think people or dogs are in immediate danger. Fish are on their own.

Rod Kelly, a 47-year-old personal trainer, spotted the reptile Sunday morning near his home on Lakewood Circle. He was showing a friend the view.

"We looked down, and there was an alligator sunning himself," Kelly said.

Kelly put on waders and went after it. He said he briefly had the gator by its striped tail, but it was too quick.

Police and animal control showed up at about 10 a.m. Sunday. So did a whole bunch of neighbors and their cameras.

Mike Wauhop and Brian Fiske of ZooPro came, too. They had unsuccessfully searched for an alligator this summer in Portsmouth.

There hasn't been a reported sighting of the Portsmouth gator - rumored to be between 3 and 8 feet long - in about three weeks, Wauhop said.

They tried to capture the Beach alligator on Sunday, to no avail. They went out again late Sunday, again with no luck.

Monday afternoon, Jason Carlisle, a 31 -year-old airline pilot, spotted the gator sunning on grass near a creek in his yard.

Carlisle called animal control.

"Do you have a problem with alligators in Virginia?" he asked.

ZooPro was called in and soon had the gator under wraps.

At about 3:30 p.m., Fiske and Wauhop cornered it under a deck at a drain. Fiske netted it, dragged it onto the shore and jumped on it, grabbing its head.

Wauhop said they are not charging the city for the capture and will not hurt the animal. They will take the gator to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk until the state can place it in a refuge.

"It will have a good life," Wauhop said.

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