Gator Watch has officially ended—the alligator that was spotted in the Humboldt Park lagoon nearly a week ago was captured by an expert brought in from Florida, according to Block Club and police.
On Sunday night, the beloved volunteer in charge of the rescue, Alligator Bob, packed up his traps to make way for Florida reptile specialist Frank Robb hired by the Animal Care and Control Department, according to the office of 26th Ward Alderman Maldonado. The roads near the park and boathouse parking lot have reopened.
After the first sighting was reported by Block Club on July 9, Chicago launched into a full-throttle obsession with the reptile which was officially named Chance the Snapper. Afterwards crowds gathered at the boathouse, reporters held stake outs, commemorative t-shirts were made, and Benny the Bulls’ mascot showed up wanting photos with Alligator Bob. The alligator received national media coverage and a few brands tweeted about the gator, too.
We were in favor of Frank Lloyd Bite, but admittedly Chance the Snapper is pretty good. https://t.co/fO1gGPj26L— Chicago Architecture Center (@chiarchitecture) July 11, 2019
At first, many were skeptical that an alligator was living in the Humboldt Park lagoon—until the animal surfaced again and more photos were published. The alligator in Humboldt Park is estimated to be about 4 to 5 feet long.
Experts have speculated that it was an illegal pet which was dumped once the owner realized it wasn’t manageable. Alligators are illegal to own as pets in Illinois, but unfortunately they are commonly purchased online or bought as small 18-inch hatchlings in Florida.
The commotion and crowds likely prolonged the animals capture, and could be one reason Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for parts of the park to be blocked off.