Authorities Post Warning to Stay Out of Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon Due to Alligator

Photographer Rencie Horst-Ruiz took this picture of the alligator at 6:30 a.m. on July 9th.  (Ren's View Photography)

Photographer Rencie Horst-Ruiz took this picture of the alligator at 6:30 a.m. on July 9th. (Ren's View Photography)

The Chicago Police Department’s Chief Communications Officer, Anthony Guglielmi, posted an advisory to Twitter on July 9th, warning residents to stay out of the Humboldt Park Lagoon due to the presence of a four-to-five-foot alligator.

Numerous residents have spotted the gator since last Tuesday morning, but photographer Rencie Horst-Ruiz was likely the first to see it at the lagoon during a photo shoot that took place around 6:30 a.m.

Richard Crowley, president of the Chicago Herpetological Society, believes the animal is an American alligator, possibly dumped in the lagoon by someone who had been keeping it illegally as a pet.

The society hopes to relocate the animal once it is found.

"Once the species is identified, then a suitable location is found for the reptile," said Crowley.

‘Alligator Bob’, a volunteer with the society, has so far spent two days scouring the lagoon in his canoe, trying to trap the animal, and animal control officers have strategically placed several baited traps around the area in an effort to remove the alligator safely.

Thus far the animal has eluded capture by both the officers and Alligator Bob.

The lagoon’s beach is still open and there are no closures, although authorities are advising citizens to stay out of the water.

This isn’t the first alligator to be found in or around Chicago. Last year, a kayaker found an abandoned alligator near Waukegan; in 2010 Alligator Bob aided in the capture of an alligator in the North Branch of the Chicago River; another alligator was captured in the South Branch of the river in 2008; in 1953 two boys from Wheeling reportedly found an alligator in the Des Plaines River; and as far back as 1902, an article in the Chicago Tribune claimed that a two-and-a-half-foot alligator was captured after an iron worker wrestled it out of the Chicago River.

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