CLARENCE, N.Y. — Three very large reptiles were found in unexpected places in Western New York over the past two weeks.
"Wednesday, troopers got a call about 6 o'clock, local fisherman at the town park right off Main Street. It ended up being a call for an alligator, at least a possible alligator," said Trooper James O'Callaghan, Troop A public information officer for the New York State Police.
Oh, it was a alligator alright, about three feet long.
"Just kind of doing its thing. We immediately called EnCon [Department of Environmental Conservation]. They came out and assisted us," O'Callaghan said. "And we actually found a second gator. Comparable, about the same size. About three feet long."
Both alligators were euthanized.
Alligators are illegal to keep as pets in New York State, and police say it's likely a case where someone couldn't care for them anymore and ditched them in the pond.
It happens here more than you might think.
"Very often these people will acquire these types of reptiles and other animals from illicit breeders who bring them in," said Gina Lattuca, chief communications officer for the SPCA Serving Erie County.
"They may not realize as they are purchasing these animals, they don't realize they're illegal. They don't realize how nasty they can become when they reach maturity. They don't realize the size they are getting into with some of these animals."
The SPCA is looking into another case involving a massive nine-foot snake that was found along Sturgeon Point Road in Derby two weeks ago. It's legal to have; however, it shouldn't be slithering around in a random person's yard.
State Police say someone flagged down Trooper Brian Redman to help wrangle it — not exactly something you learn in the police academy.
"He ended up grabbing it and putting it into a cage, and then contacted the SPCA," O'Callaghan said.
The SPCA doesn't know if the snake was dumped, which is illegal, or if it somehow escaped.
"If there's a snake being neglected or if there's a snake not being fed, does that snake have the strength to break down doors and break down barriers to escape? Absolutely," Lattuca said.
The snake is being treated for some health issues and is in a foster-to-adopt home.
Anyone with information about this incident — including who may have illegally possessed the alligators and released them — should immediately contact DEC’s Law Enforcement Dispatch Center at 1-844-DEC-ECOs (1-844-332-3267).
Any additional sightings should also be reported to this number.