A man and his grandson were quite surprised after finding an alligator lying in the leaves near bushes in the area.
The nearly 3-foot alligator was found around 2:44 p.m. Monday when they were walking through Waryas Park, said City of Poughkeepsie Police Det. Lt. Matt Clark.
The department sent an officer to the scene who managed to catch the North American alligator by its tail and then tape its mouth without any problem, police said.
Officer Robert Haberski then took the alligator back to the station where he was kept until officers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation arrived, and transported it to the Two by Two Zoo in Pleasant Valley.
DEC officials said alligators are not native to New York and are only seen in the state when released by an owner that no longer wants to keep the animal as a pet.
The department cautioned pet owners that if they have such an animal, or any other exotic animal, in their possession, they should never release it to the wild.
Two by Two Zoo owner Heather Iannucci and her daughter Jessica Santiago said the gator is hanging out for the meantime until they receive word from DEC if they will be able to keep him.
He will then become of the zoo's traveling team and visit children, nursing homes, community events, festivals and more.
The zoo, which is not open to the public, has been around since 1993 and is permitted to care for alligators. In New York, no one is allowed to touch alligators, so they will just show him off and provide information about his species.
"The new alligator will be housed with another alligator, also a rescue, in a heated enclosure," she said. "For now we are keeping him until further notice from DEC."
The zoo could keep him for his entire lifetime, but because they become so large, it becomes tough to travel and exhibit, as well as care for them, Iannucci said.
When they reach that point, the gator will be relocated through the DEC to a large alligator sanctuary or preserve, probably "down South," she said.
For those interested in the traveling zoo, which is USDA and DEC licensed, contact them at 845-677-3507. The public can contact DEC’s General Wildlife Line with questions and/or concerns at 845-256-3098.
DEC encourages the public to contact DEC or the local police if they encounter such an animal in the wild.
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