UPPER AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP — To the shock of workers at the Sunbury reservoir, a five-to-six foot alligator was discovered Friday morning.
Sunbury police responded and then called local animal handlers for help dealing with the unfamiliar situation.
The folks at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, a reptile zoo in Allenwood got a call, but could not help.
“We certainly would try if we could to save the animal from being destroyed but at the same time we just don`t have the staff to send out and go on kind of a wild goose chase which is probably what it would be,” said Peeling.
Police said because of public safety as well as a lack of handling and housing for the animal, it had to be put down.
Peeling knows all about gators. He has them, large and small, at his zoo.
He said the gator in the reservoir was a small one, not much of a threat, but catching it and then finding it a home would have been hard.
Peeling said the gator was no doubt someone’s pet that escaped or was released into the wild.
“It`s a very bad idea to release any animal that`s not native to the wild in the commonwealth because if it could survive the winter, and an alligator undoubtedly will not survive the winter, but if it did and it would compete with native animals, it could push them to extinction,” said Peeling.
“Generally what I see is people buying them on impulse, seems like a neat idea for example to buy a python that`s going to get big, but when it gets big and the kids goes off to college, mom says i`m not taking care of this thing, they call us and we give them the bad news, we just don`t have the space for this kind of thing,” said Peeling.