An American alligator has taken up residence at the Humboldt Park lagoon in Chicago. The gator has been nicknamed "Chance the Snapper" after Grammy Award-winning rapper and Chicago native, Chance the Rapper. Crowds have amassed at the park in hopes of capturing a glimpse of "Chance," but so far the gator is keeping a low profile.
The Chicago Park District has placed restrictions in the areas where the gator has been spotted. Park visitors have been advised not to swim, fish, or canoe in the lagoon and to stay away from grassy areas around the water where "Chance" could hide. They have placed baited traps around the lagoon in hopes of humanely capturing the alligator.
"It's just not gonna be easy to do," Jenny Schlueter, a spokeswoman for Chicago Animal Care and Control, told ABC News. "The traps are set around the clock … Chicago police department is on the scene or an animal control officer at all times, so someone is always there."
Officials believe that the alligator was somebody's pet and was left in the lagoon. They think it has only been in the park for a few days and has not started hunting wild animals yet. "Chance" is likely acclimating to its new environment and is used to being fed by its owner.
"We don't know when the alligator ate last, and if he's not hungry or he's too nervous to eat then it's just a waiting game," Schlueter explained. "It could be weeks or months until he eats again."
It is illegal to have a pet alligator in the state of Illinois, and it is also illegal to release a pet into a public park.
"To anyone who wants to keep an alligator as a pet, I suggest looking at a leopard gecko or bearded dragons, which are much easier to keep and don't get big," Alan Resetar, collections manager for amphibians and reptiles at the Field Museum told ABC Chicago. "And those are legal, yes."
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