The number of alligators captured in Nassau and Suffolk counties in the past month grew to seven on Saturday after the Suffolk SPCA caught a gator at Lilly Pond County Park in Lake Ronkonkoma.
Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said a family visiting the park Saturday morning spotted the “feisty” gator. When Suffolk County Parks police, Suffolk County police and the SPCA arrived, they said the gator had gone in the water.
An SPCA officer put on a dry suit and dived into the water and captured the alligator, said Gross.
The nearly three-foot long gator was on land when it was first spotted inside the park, Gross said.
Saturday’s incident was believed to be the sixth gator spotting on Long Island in the past four weeks, but Gross learned later in the day that an alligator was captured two weeks ago in Yaphank and was handed over to Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit organization.
The group told Gross that they also received a rattlesnake that was caught in Bohemia. The snake joins a growing list of odd reptiles found in the area. The SPCCA said a boa constrictor was discovered in Mastic on Oct. 10 and an iguana was found wandering around Patchogue five days later.
Suffolk police caught the first gator in Mastic Beach on Sept. 28. Riverhead animal control said they captured one Oct. 1 at a Wading River Golf Course.
Two gators were spotted walking around a Baldwin supermarket parking lot on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. Another was found on Oct. 7 in a container outside an Applebees on Montauk Highway in Shirley.
Authorities are growing tired of these incidents.
“Smarten up,” Gross said of the person who may be releasing the reptiles. “Don’t do it, don’t get a pet like this in the first place.”
The SPCA chief believes the Applebees incident was “absolutely intentional.” He expressed concern for the public and the gators, adding that the gators can’t survive very long in cold weather.
The Suffolk SPCA is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person releasing the gators.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents can call the Suffolk SPCA at 631-382-SPCA. All calls are anonymous.