Herpetophobia sufferers, beware. Officials in Chicago revealed this week that there is a four- to five-foot long alligator lurking about in a lagoon located in Humboldt Park, a popular green area in the city’s West Side.
The presence of the gator was eventually confirmed by Anthony Guglielmi, the chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department, late Tuesday after the department received reports from local residents who had spotted the reptile.
“We’ve independently confirmed the alligator is in the lagoon and state reptile specialists say it's between 4 and 5 feet long,” reads a Tuesday tweet from Guglielmi. “The reptile will be humanely trapped tonight and relocated to a zoo for veterinary evaluation.”
Photos captured and shared online by Rencie Horst-Ruiz show the alarming intruder briefly popping its head out of the lagoon water before quickly submerging itself.
— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) July 9, 2019
With gators being a non-native species to the Chicago area, some locals have speculated that the scaly creature was once a pet, and was dumped into the lagoon by an individual who either grew tired of the reptile or was simply unable to continue caring for it.
Local Chris Serrano told the Chicago Tribune that Humboldt Park “is historical for people throwing a whole bunch of things in the lagoon.” He added that during his runs around the area, he’s spotted large turtles, goldfish and even carp.
This, however, isn’t the first time that Chicagoans have been alerted to an alligator in the region. By the Tribune’s records, there have been several instances of gator appearances in Chicago’s waterways dating all the way back to 1902.
Presently, officials are urging residents to steer clear of the lagoon until authorities are able to safely remove the alligator from the scene. According to local news station ABC 7, Chicago police have launched a separate investigation to determine who released the reptile into the lagoon.