A Montgomery County man discovered a surprise in his backyard koi pond late last month: an alligator! Montgomery County Police and Animal Control were called to the scene after Ryan Alavi called 911 to report the unusual sighting.
Alavi reported the gator to 911 after he discovered it in his backyard koi pond. He originally thought the alligator was a large snake, likely there to eat the koi fish in habiting the pond. Officers from both the MCP and Animal Control were surprised to find a three-foot alligator – the first alligator of that size the officers have seen in the area in 18 years.
The investigation into how the gator got into Alavi’s koi pond is still underway. There is some confusion over its sudden appearance, as alligators are illegal in Montgomery County and in the state of Maryland. Like many other illegal animals, someone found in possession of an alligator faces a misdemeanor charge with a $1,000 fine.
The gator is currently at the Catoctin Wild Life Preserve and Zoo, with others of its kind in the zoo’s Alligator Bayou. The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is supported by the Global Wildlife Trust, with the mission of broadening human understanding of the animal world. The Preserve has an excellent reputation for naturalistic habitat recreations for their animal exhibits, and high-quality educational programs using live animals and instructional tools. The Alligator Bayou recreates a section of a Lousianna Bayou for their alligators, complete with cajun music, Spanish moss and over a dozen alligators.
Fun Facts about Alligators!
- Alligators were in danger of extinction and where put on the endangered species list in1967. Fortunately, they were taken off 20 years later and there are now over a million.
- The average male can grow to 15 feet.
- Alligators can be mainly seen in Florida and Louisiana, but can be found as far north as North Carolina.
- In the wild, alligators generally live to be 35 to 50 years old. Alligators can live longer—for 60 to 80 years—in captivity.
- A group of alligators is called a congregation.
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