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'Alligator' captured in Massachusetts likely a dwarf caiman

By Ben Hooper
'Alligator' captured in Massachusetts likely a dwarf caiman
An "alligator" captured on the streets of Lowell, Mass., appears to actually be a dwarf caiman, online commenters said. Photo by the Lowell Police Department/Facebook

LOWELL, Mass., July 6 (UPI) -- Police in Massachusetts announced the capture of a footlong "alligator" on the streets of a city, but some say the creature appears to actually be a caiman.

The Lowell Police Department said in a Facebook post officers responded to a report from a resident Sunday evening and discovered the footlong "alligator" walking on a street in the city's Highlands area.

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A video posted to the Lowell Sun's website shows Animal Control Officer Sareth Kum using a metal pole with a lasso attached to capture the reptile and place it in a box.

The animal was originally reported to be a small alligator, but commenters online suggested it appears to be a dwarf caiman, an alligator cousin native to South America.

A Facebook user said dwarf caimans tend to have a "nastier attitude than a gator but only get up to 5-feet long."

Police said the reptile was "was transported to a facility specializing in reptile rehabilitation for evaluation and care."

It is illegal to keep alligators, crocodiles or caimans as pets in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game's website states.

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