Animal control officials are looking to place a baby alligator named Chompey in a warmer environment outside the state because Iowa law does not permit people to keep alligators or other exotic animals. State law prohibits residents from owning lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, ocelots, elephants, bears, monkeys, crocodiles and certain snakes.
Chompey was turned in to animal control officials after the person who purchased him online found out about the exotic animals law.
"He was really kind of cute, but he was also kind of naughty," Maria Tiller, Waterloo's code enforcement forewoman, told the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier. "I didn't want him in my office anymore. This was the first time I'd ever seen a full-fledged American alligator in Waterloo."
Tiller passed Chompney off to a herpetologist in Des Moines where he is currently being held in quarantine.
The head of Animal Rescue of Iowa, Josh Colvin, said that gators in the state are rare, but not unheard of.
"They just don't realize they are going to grow up and get big," Colvin said. "The unfortunate part is that people don't think it through, and then animal control has to pick up the pieces."
American alligators can grow to up to 15 feet in length and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
[Chattanooga Times Free Press]
[Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier]