For more than 80 years, there has been an urban legend about congregations of alligators living in the depths of New York City sewers. (Yes,a group of alligators is called a “congregation.” I didn’t know that either until I looked it up.) The legend goes that baby alligators acquired in Florida or Louisiana, brought back to New York by vacationers were flushed down toilets in New York City and went on to live and breed in the city sewers. It never happened. City sewers turn out to not be a good habitat for alligators.
Now, however, not that far from the big city, on the western end of Long Island, there have been sightings of five alligators in the Peconinc River. So far, four have been captured while the fifth is still at large. Alligators are not native to New York State. They would be incapable of surviving the winter. Nevertheless, thsi is not the first sightin gof alligators on Long Island. Just last October, animal control officers trapped another five in another area of Long Island. As reported by Fox News:
It is illegal to own or house an alligator or any crocodelia in New York State. The fine for owning an alligator is a maximum of $250. But releasing one is a criminal offense.
“They are facing abandonment with up to a year in prison and or a $1000 fine… Endangering the public– that is also criminal. And with the colder weather, by leaving a reptile outside , which is basically a death sentence, they face neglect and abuse charges which is also criminal and results in misdemeanor charges, Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross told GDNY on Tuesday.
Anyone who spots an alligator on Long Island is urged to call 631-444-0250.