Experts: Beaver Run Reservoir gator's days are few
It won't rival the tale of the Loch Ness Monster, but a 5-foot alligator seen paddling around the waters of northern Westmoreland County's Beaver Run Reservoir has startled passers-by.
"Our security people spotted an alligator there about a month ago, and we haven't found it yet," Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County manager Chris Kerr said.
The reservoir, with 25 miles of shoreline, is a primary source of drinking water provided by the authority to more than 125,000 customers. It is on a 5,000-acre parcel in Bell, Salem and Washington townships.
Kerr said the fenced reservoir is off limits to the public and not close enough to homes to raise concerns about the alligator harming anyone. He said the authority has taken no steps to alert the public about the alligator and does not plan to search for it.
"We contacted the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and asked them about it. They said it's not uncommon for some pet owners to leave a reptile in the water once they decide they don't want it anymore," Kerr said.
He said commission officials assured authority personnel that the alligator, not used to the cold, northern environment, will not survive the winter.
"Because it's not native to this area, it won't survive. It's too cold, and the alligator is not meant to survive in this kind of coldness," said Eric Levis, spokesman for the Fish and Boat Commission.
But "obviously, stay away from it if you see it," he said.
Pictures of the alligator have surfaced, including one obtained by authority workers. Some say they've seen the alligator sunning itself on the reservoir's banks and feeding on fish. Others have seen it in the water with just the top of its body visible above the water line. The alligator has not displayed any aggressiveness, Kerr said.
Ray Bamrick, lead reptile keeper at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, said even a 5-foot alligator could do considerable damage to a human and urges caution by anyone who sees the reptile.
Bamrick said although the alligator may survive through October and even into November, he agrees that ultimately, its days are numbered.
"It's fine right now, but as it gets cold at night and over days of cold temperature it cannot last. It will eventually die if it is not captured. It won't take long," he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Prime time not kind to Heinz Field
- State police trooper seriously hurt when hit by vehicle in East Huntingdon
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Ferrante murder trial heads into day 6 with testimony on cyanide, Web searches
- Kiski Valley-based ring charged with hundreds of thefts over 10 communities
- Malala donates prize money to rebuild Gaza school
- Pa. grants & tax credits: Two messes involving taxpayer underwriting of the movie industry demand a thorough investigation
- Greensburg torture killer seeks reduction in sentence