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Alligators of New York City
Though this story ends in New York City, it actually starts hundreds (thousands?) of miles away, in the steaming jungles of Florida.
Florida is known for producing three things:
News articles about disturbed hillbillies
For a quick example of all three in action, see this news article about a Florida woman who claims to have taught her 6 foot pet alligator, Rambo, to drive an ATV.
To a non-Florida resident it might appear as though she simply draped the reptile over the handlebars and snapped a photo, but with a little imagination (and some meth) it’s not hard to picture Rambo taking that ATV for a spin.
Gators like Rambo live happy lives in Florida, with abundant swampland to roam and plenty of disturbed hillbillies to care for them. But problems arise when people bring gators to New York City.
Sure they start out as cute pets, but then you realize there’s nowhere to keep a gator in New York City except your bathtub. Alligators can live up to 50 years, and you soon realize that 50 years is a long time to go without a bath. Plus the gator soon outgrows your bathtub and it slowly dawns on you that you’re risking your life every morning just to take a dump. Then what?
Well, the New Yorkers without enough foresight to anticipate this problem just set their gators free, and the gators are later discovered basking in a tiny backyard or swimming in a park.
Rumors of sewer gators have swirled since the 1930’s, but sewer maintenance crews deny the existence of a gator population in the sewers; they tend to stay above ground.
An alligator is typically captured in the wilds of New York City every year or two, with the most recent one recovered from the lake in Prospect Park in February.
Apparently park visitors were terrified of the 4-foot scrawny alligator who was too sick and lethargic to move.
“If I saw that gator, I would have kicked it back in the water!” some asshole told the New York Post.
It’s important to note that the animal recovered from Prospect Park was an alligator, and not a crocodile; the key difference between the two is that one will see you later, while the other will see you after a while.
The gator had to receive emergency care because it had ingested a 4-inch bathtub stopper and was sent to the Bronx Zoo to recover and live out the rest of its life, which wasn’t long because it unfortunately died two months later.
So how many gators are actually in New York City?
According to NYC Open Data, the city receives several 311 complaints for illegal pets. The oddly-vague-yet-specific results are:
Farm Animal (611)
Turtle Under 4 Inches Long (16)
According to the data, 16 New Yorkers have narced on their neighbors for having turtles under 4 inches long. Apparently turtles are only suitable pets once they reach 4 inches in length.
NYC Open Data makes no mention of tub gators, but they might be included in the 976 “Other” calls.
Wikipedia mentions that New York City authorities seize 100 illegal pet gators per year, though most of these are rescued directly from someone’s home and don’t get any press coverage; only gators on the loose make the news.
So it’s unclear how many gators are currently living in New York City, but there are probably a lot. Hell, there may even be one in your neighborhood! But next time you’re in Florida and a crazed swamp person tries selling you a baby gator for a nickel, just remember that it may grow up to eat your bathtub stopper.
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