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16 alligators found on Long Island in past year

May 5, 2013 at 12:03 PM

RIVERHEAD, N.Y., May 5 (UPI) -- Some 16 alligators have been found on New York's Long Island in the past year, leaving residents wondering where they're coming from.

Most of the alligators have been found out and about -- in parking lots, in parks, near bodies of water, the New York Post reported. Three were turned in at an illegal-reptile amnesty event in Smithtown last weekend.

All the creatures recently captured have been American alligators, which are not native to New York, and between 2 and 3 feet long, officials said. All have made placed at various nearby sanctuaries.

Julian Ansell, of the Long Island Aquarium, which took seven of the recently found reptiles, said the animals were likely abandoned by owners who initially thought they were cute, but then had second thoughts once they grew.

"When it's a baby, every animal is cute and not so dangerous," Ansell says. "Just because you are hand-feeding it doesn't mean it's going to like you and it's not going to bite you. It's going to be a 12-foot animal -- you can't just keep that in a 55-gallon fish tank in your house."

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