This isn’t Florida, man: Another alligator found in Pittsburgh | TribLIVE.com
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This isn’t Florida, man: Another alligator found in Pittsburgh

Madasyn Czebiniak
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Pittsburgh Public Safety
This 5-foot-long alligator was found Thursday night in Beechview by a man walking his dog. It was captured and taken to Humane Animal Rescue in the East End.

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Everglades.

For the second time in a month, an alligator was spotted and captured in a city neighborhood.

Pittsburgh public safety spokesman Chris Togneri said a man walking his dog around 10 p.m. Thursday in Beechview spotted a 5-foot-long alligator in front of a garage on Sebring Avenue.

Pittsburgh police and animal control officers responded to the scene, where the alligator was agitated and hissing. Officers cornered and corralled it so it didn’t run away or threaten neighbors, Togneri said.

It was taken to Humane Animal Rescue in the East End. No one was injured, Togneri said.

On May 18, a 3-foot-long alligator was found and captured near the Southside Riverfront Park. A family spotted that alligator sunning itself on a riverside trail.

Cmdr. Mike Pilyih, who responded to the Beechview alligator, said both cases likely resulted from people buying an alligator, raising it until it got too big to care for and releasing it into the wild.

Sara Smith, the owner of Sara’s Pets and Plants in Pittsburgh, wasn’t surprised to hear about the alligators found in the city. She said it’s not uncommon for people to buy alligators at reptile shows and release them into the wild when they don’t want them anymore.

“It happens literally all the time,” she said.

Smith owns an alligator that a woman found in her 14-year-old son’s room.

The teen got it at a reptile show, brought it home, and hid it for two months under a pile of dirty clothes.

“She found it when she went to go clean his room, and called me,” Smith said of the teen’s mother. “Now her name’s Mildred and she’s mine.”

Mildred lives at Smith’s Squirrel Hill pet store, which adopts out and sells exotic reptiles, amphibians, fish, small mammals, insects, cats and birds. Most of the animals are rescues.

Mildred isn’t for sale.

“There’s nobody in Pittsburgh that I know of that should have an alligator,” Smith said.

Smith said alligators aren’t equipped to handle Pittsburgh winters.

“All reptiles need a certain amount of heat depending on what species they are,” she said. “Alligators, since they’re from Florida, they cannot handle Pittsburgh winters.”

Gators haven’t been the only large reptiles potentially posing a threat around the region.

A 15-foot python escaped from a truck in Morgantown, W.Va., last week. Morgantown police wrote on their official Facebook page that the snake still had not been found.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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