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Alligators are popping up on Long Island

new york domino theory suffolk spca

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 01:47

Investigators are scrambling to nab the snake in the grass responsible for abandoning an astonishing seven alligators across Long Island in the past 30 days.

So far, officials remain dumbfounded by the glut of gators.

“It seems like someone with a sense of humor. Maybe it’s a University of Florida fan and they’re spreading the word,” speculated Dr. Russell Burke, a Hofstra University herpetologist.

The first gator was nabbed on a lawn in Mastic on Sept. 28, according to Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross, who said another was corralled on Oct. 1 at the Great Rock Golf Course in Wading River; two more on Oct. 2 and 3 in a Waldbaum’s parking lot in Baldwin; another on Oct. 7 outside an Applebee’s in Shirley; and one more on Oct. 20 in Lily Pond Park in Lake Ronkonkoma. Another was caught in the past few weeks in Yaphank, he said.

All the critters were American alligators, a species not indigenous to Long Island — except maybe on pocketbooks and high heels.

Gross suspects a “domino theory” could be at play.

Once news broke of the first abandoned reptile, he theorized, owners across Long Island dumped their illicit pets.

“They’re worried we’re closing in on them,” he said.

And they’d better worry. Gross’s elite Emergency Animal Response team — specially trained to wrassle gators and other beasts — is on the case.

All the abandoned reptiles were just a few years old and about 2 to 3 feet in length — still big enough to tear a pinky off. They can grow to 14 feet, weigh 1,000 pounds and live 50 years.