I’ve been to Chicago many, many times. I’ve never gone to see alligators. However, the second alligator in a month was spotted in the northern branch of the Chicago River. This river does go into downtown Chicago. Of course this is news to folks who are thinking about dangling their feet in the Chicago River, but does it have any impact on people living elsewhere? I think it does.
Serena Dai, Associated Press writer, has posted an article on the Chicago Channel 2 CBS website titled “2nd Alligator Seen On Chicago River’s North Branch.”
Apparently the alligator that was most recently seen is about three-feet long. As in most cases, it is not easily identifiable as an alligator. Of course it is viewed as a novelty by people who have seen it and are in the area. However, it can also be dangerous to small animals, including pets, not to mention small children. Believe me, a three foot alligator could injure a toddler, and in fact could kill him by pulling him under water.
However, is there a bigger issue at stake here? Yes, there is.
Alligators cannot survive in Chicago simply because it gets too cold. They can do a lot of damage before they die. The question is, how did they get there? The answer must be a “pet” owner let them go.
I have written a number of articles about animals that were not indigenous to an area being let go or even imported to take care of a problem, and what type of damage they can have to that area.
I have linked to a couple of articles that I have done that show what a species can do when it isn’t supposed to be in an area. Often they are brought here to try to solve a problem with another problem, but they cause a bigger problem themselves.
While this alligator “problem” doesn’t represent the same type of problem, it only takes one child’s death to illustrate why pets other than dogs, cats and birds should be illegal, and also why people should be prosecuted if they are found to have released this type of animal.
Chicago CBS Channel 2 Website, Serena Dai, “2nd Alligator Seen On Chicago River’s North Branch.”
Associated Content Website, Gary Davis, “Silver Asian Carp Breaks Boy’s Jaw”
Associated Content Website, Gary Davis, “Dangerous Snakehead Fish Again Caught in North Carolina”