Authorities believe alligator is a released pet.
People in central New York State are buzzing as wildlife officials are on the lookout for a very out-of-place alligator.
WICZ TV reports The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been getting reports for weeks about an alligator in the Tioughnioga River between the towns of Whitney Point and Lisle. The rumors about the wayward reptile got a little more serious this weekend when Whitney Point's mayor posted a photo on Facebook of the alligator allegedly taken by a kayaker.
The DEC first got reports of the reptile roughly a month ago by fisherman. But it wasn't until Reynolds' Facebook post that the story gained more traction.
Now the mayor and DEC are asking the public to use caution while out and about on the river.
"If you see it, don't approach it and contact the DEC as soon as possible so they can dispatch someone to its location," Whitney Point Mayor Ryan Reynolds said in a Facebook post.
As for how a southern reptile came to be in a northern river, the DEC believes the alligator is a released pet. If so, it would be similar to situations where people have released exotic fish like pacu after they've grown too large for their tanks.
The practice of releasing exotic pets is enough of a nuisance that some states have started dedicating time and money to educating the public about the dangers of releasing pets that have grown too large for their cages.
Anyone who sees the wayward alligator is asked to contact the DEC at (607) 753-3095.