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  1. #1
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    alligator captured in the chicago river

    the can of worms this article leads us to is the keeping of exotic animals as pets by irresponsible people and the threat to ecosystems when they release them into the wild when they find out they're not so cute when they start to get too big.

    does anybody know if that's really an alligator or just a caiman? caiman's are regularly sold as pets and i'd like to know where some turkey is going to get a baby alligator on the open market.


    3-foot alligator captured in Chicago River

    August 21, 2009 6:00 PM | 24 Comments | UPDATED STORY
    A 3-foot-long alligator was caught in the Chicago River last night and is en route to a more suitable home, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control.

    The Chicago Police Marine Unit was called at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to a report of an alligator along the Chicago River, but by the time they responded it was gone, police said.
    The alligator was basking on a rock under a bridge near where Fullerton Avenue crosses the river, police said.




    A 3-foot-long alligator was caught in the Chicago River Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Mark Rosenthal with the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control)
    Animal Care and Control called the Chicago Herpetological Society, which sent two people in a canoe last night to set traps for the reptile.
    According to Mark Rosenthal, operations manager for Animal Care and Control, alligators' eyes glow red when a light is shone on them. The alligator hunters used this method to locate the gator, he said.
    "They saw the alligator, quietly paddled up and grabbed him," Rosenthal said. "We suspect it was someone's pet since it was not scared of being handled."
    It is illegal to have an alligator as a pet in Illinois. The gator will be relocated to a zoo or wildlife refuge, Rosenthal said.
    "I'm very happy we were able to get it and that it will be sent to a better home," he said. "It would not have been able to survive in the Chicago River, especially with winter coming."
    -- Caroline K. Smith

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    2,081

    Re: alligator captured in the chicago river

    That's definitely an alligator. The only caimans that you see in the pet trade are the spectacled caimain (which has different eyes and the lower teeth point out) and the dwarf caiman (which has a very different looking head). IMO none of the crocodilians save for the chinese alligator (or indian gharial since it physically cannot seriously injure people) should be available as pets unless the owner is highly experienced with reptiles and has a license. On the other hand, both the chinese alligator and indian gharial are endangered and the potential outcome of them establishing breeding populations in the US could probably be considered a bittersweet conservation success story. I've actually suggested releasing freshwater sharks (genus Glyphis, which are highly endangered) into US waters to help boost their numbers. Probably into the Everglades; the situation with exotic species there is hopeless anyway.

  3. #3
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    Re: alligator captured in the chicago river

    thanks. i wasn't sure - it's been a long time since i was in the pet industry and i had never seen a caiman that size -- only hatchlings and full grown. the snout is too broad for the dwarf.

    it's been almost as long since i've been in a lab or in the field doing scientific work, too. got tossed by ronnie and poppy in the 80's -- snatched a job from me with brown and goldstein in dallas (the good cholesterol/bad cholesterol nobel winners) when he pulled the f u n d i n g from the NSF and NIH to fund the SDI (star wars).

    clearly from this and other posts of yours i've seen you're likely to have some paper from a college or two in the sciences.

    what's your specialty? i'm an aquarist, but never got there because the navy and i never settled on anything, i was overqualified for the pet business and when i graduated U Tampa in 1978, the few hatchery jobs available were getting snatched by folks with higher degrees because the economy was so bad. that's how i ended up in medicine.

    you actually get paid for being a biologist or have you had a similar experience?

    are you an american? the situation with exotic plants and animals all over florida is hopeless and spreading to other states.

    the oaks are endangered all over the south because of the kudzu the landscapers love. nasties like piranhas and alligators turn up all over the place when the cute little juveniles people buy turn into adults they can't feed or handle safely.

    the farm-raised tilapia and some of the other cichlids are getting out all over the place and threatening the bass and sunfish. the mouthbrooders are especially bad because they tear up the nests and the mouthbrooding protects their fry through their most vulnerable stages.

    do you know what species 'phlipper's grandmaw is in the other post? it's hard to tell from the picture how big it is and it doesn't look at all familiar to me. the closest thing i saw in it was the mudskipper but the eyes are all wrong.


    ever gone blue crabbing with chicken necks for bait? easy pickings and tasty little boogers too. not much meat, though. i like the florida stone crab and the alaskan snows and kings.

    happy day

  4. #4
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    Re: alligator captured in the chicago river

    I am an American and I live close to Lake Erie, which itself has plenty of issues with invasive species. My knowledge of science is, at the moment, disappointingly narrow. I know quite a bit about zoology and ecology (compared to my peers, probably not a great amount general), but not a whole lot about the other major fields. I am certainly not as educated as BZ, I will admit to that much although I am not too worried about it (cave fish).
    I am an entering freshman to SUNY ESF with a major in Aquatic and Fisheries Science. I'm not in the same league as you or Kazza. That's also why I generally try to only attack low hanging fruit. We'll see how that changes over the next few years.

    Oh yeah, my best guess for phlipper's photo would be a wolf fish or something like that.

  5. #5
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    Re: alligator captured in the chicago river

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Crab of PAIN!!! View Post
    I am an American and I live close to Lake Erie, which itself has plenty of issues with invasive species. My knowledge of science is, at the moment, disappointingly narrow. I know quite a bit about zoology and ecology (compared to my peers, probably not a great amount general), but not a whole lot about the other major fields. I am certainly not as educated as BZ, I will admit to that much although I am not too worried about it (cave fish).
    I am an entering freshman to SUNY ESF with a major in Aquatic and Fisheries Science. I'm not in the same league as you or Kazza. That's also why I generally try to only attack low hanging fruit. We'll see how that changes over the next few years.

    Oh yeah, my best guess for phlipper's photo would be a wolf fish or something like that.
    well, yeah! (about lake erie) are you old enough to remember when the cuyahoga river was so polluted it would catch fire?

    how's the alewife thing these days? they were unforgettable when i was a kid in chicago swimming through rafts of floaters at the beach and smelling them in my bedroom a block away all summer long. slipping the ones that weren't dead yet into somebody's trunks was always fun, though.

    ever caught a cowalski? that's a hybrid of coho salmon, walleye and muskellunge they're hoping will replace the lake trout that got wiped out by lampreys.

    NOT! that's a stupid marine biologist joke --- like the researcher at mote marine lab that discovered that he could keep porpoises alive indefinitely on a diet of baby sea gulls but had to go to alabama to get them and got busted bringing a load back.

    the charge? transporting immature gulls across state lines for immortal porpoises.

    KLANG! oh darn, gonged again!

    are you just a young pup on your first go around or an older cur going back?

    thanks for the compliment, good luck with your studies and even more good luck getting a decent job in the field when you graduate. at one point i was considering having my diploma mounted into a toilet lid for all it was worth otherwise.

    keep slapping down the low-hangers. it'll get your chops up for the juicy ones on the higher branches. unfortunately, the styles you are learning here are useless in academia.

    you need to stay polite and your data has to stand up to much more intense scrutiny when you play in the professional bio-sci journals.

    i've only been back for a few months and missed BZ's debut where he probably gave his autobiographicals before slipping into whatever the hell that is he's obsessing about.

    i read much too fast to be able to get a good handle on that shit and haven't seen anything yet that made me even want to slow down enough to translate it back into understandable english.

    can you point to something a little older that might give me a better handle on the guy?

    that point-by-point rebutting of his rebuttals is too tiresome, especially when his comments are off-topic. i don't like to work that hard when nobody's paying me.

    happy day.
    Last edited by Happy Medium; 08-22-2009 at 10:29 PM.

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