More alligators found in tristate - New York News

More alligators found in tristate

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A Hilton Hotel on Long Island was packed this past weekend for a reptile expo -- evidence of a growing fad to make these exotic creatures household pets.

But the dangerous trend of letting then loose is also on the rise.

Fox 5 News has learned exclusively about two more abandoned alligators in our area.

"They're not a toy or a plaything," Erik Callender. "They can bite your finger off for no reason."

It's lunchtime for Andrew and Alex, and mice are on the menu. The two baby alligators were brought to Callender, a licensed animal educator, by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Andrew was found in a Yaphank park, and Alex came from a boy in the Bronx who could not take care of him.

Nine alligators have been found in our area in the past two months alone.

"Never in my 28 years have I seen so many alligators," said Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross. "And if you add in other reptiles like snakes and even an iguana, it's even more disturbing."

Callender, who does shows and exhibitions for science classes, gave Fox 5 an exclusive first look at his private animal sanctuary. He said it is cheaper and easier to buy baby alligators than dogs or cats. Baby gators go for less than $90 on the Internet. But reptile lovers need to leave it to the pros, because they grow to be very large.

"They can be very dangerous and move very quickly," Callender said. "They can be playful one minute and the next attack you.

The Suffolk County SPCA said an alligator left in a restaurant parking lot in Shirley was meant to hurt someone. Sources told us exclusively there was a bizarre threatening note attached.

Now there's a $2,500 reward for information.

"People need to understand it's only a violation to own one, but that they commit three more crimes by letting them loose," Chief Gross said.

Officials on Long Island are worried about the number of alligators they have found in such a short time. But they are even more concerned about what they haven't seen yet.

So far no one has been injured in these incidents, but they don't know how long that can last.

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