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Suspected alligator in New York state pond identified as snapping turtle

April 28 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in New York state said a suspected alligator that sparked numerous reported sightings in a city's pond was actually an unusually large snapping turtle.

Camille Sasinowski, president of the Goose Hill Neighborhood Association, said she was at Schenectady's Steinmetz Park on Saturday when she spotted what may have been a large animal in the pond, but she decided it must have been a large tree branch.

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Sasinowski said she started to change her mind when neighborhood residents started contacting her to report an alligator lurking in the pond.

The Schenectady Police Department said officers responded to the pond Sunday evening to look for the suspected alligator and they erected a camera pole near the edge of the pond Monday to attempt to capture evidence of the creature.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said later Monday that officers had investigated and determined the creature in the pond was an unusually large snapping turtle.

The department said the animal is a "large common snapping turtle with a 16-inch carapace/shell just below the surface of the water, which could have been mistaken as an alligator swimming."

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Some neighborhood residents said they believe the animal they spotted was not the snapping turtle, and insist there is another reptile lurking in the pond. The DEC said officers did not find any tracks or other signs of another animal in the water.

Officials said the turtle will be left undisturbed in the pond for the time being.

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