The Big “snappy” Apple

It is the last thing you’d expect to stumble across on a busy city street.

But one shocked New York pedestrian called emergency services after spotting an alligator prowling along the road.

The 14inch-long reptile, which is less than a year old, decided to hide under a Datsun car.

With a little coaxing, animal care experts removed the alligator after he was caught by surprised members of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit.

Michael Pastore, field operations director of Animal Care and Control, said he believed that the baby reptile was ditched on the street because of New York State’s laws against possessing wild animals.

‘He did let out a couple of little yelps,’ Mr Pastore told the New York Daily News.

‘And if you’ve ever seen a nature show, a baby alligator would let out a little yelp to the mother when it is in trouble.’

The alligator is now being looked after at the Animal Care and Control centre.

Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the centre, said it would likely be taken to a licensed rehabilitator or reptile sanctuary.

He said the agency rescues two to four alligators, crocodiles or caimans in the city every year.

In 2006, authorities captured a 15inch alligator at an apartment building in Brooklyn.

And in 2001, a 2ft-long caiman was found living in a lake in Central Park.

Over the years, there have been rumours of alligators living in the sewers of the city but no real tangible evidence has emerged recently.

But New York isn’t the only American city to have alligator fever after residents in central Chicago spotted the midwest city’s second reptile in a month swimming in the Chicago River.

The 3ft-long alligator has attracted crowds of curious Chicago residents, eager to catch a glimpse of their new neighbour.

Earlier this month a Chicago Herpetological Society volunteer captured a 2.5ft alligator. Both are also believed to be abandoned pets.

The society hopes to catch the latest alligator soon because it will not be able to survive the harsh Chicago winter.

‘They think they’re doing a good thing by dumping an alligator in the river because they think it will survive here,’ an animal wrangler for the society identified only as Bob told CBS News. ‘Realistically it will not.’

Chicago’s branch of the Animal Care and Control organisation are discouraging residents from purchasing the alligators, but are stressing their ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy which asks owners who find they can no longer care for their pets to drop them off at a shelter, rather than abandoning them.

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