Humboldt Park alligator evades capture, draws crowds to the lagoon

Chance the Snapper has become a Chicago sensation

On Tuesday, an alligator appeared in Humboldt Park—and very quickly it became a sensation.

It’s still hiding out in the lagoon after four days and the volunteer in charge of the rescue, Alligator Bob, says there’s no telling when it’ll be captured.

Since the first sighting was reported by Block Club, Chicago has launched into a full-throttle obsession with the reptile which was officially named Chance the Snapper. Crowds gathered at the boathouse, reporters held out overnight for a glimpse, commemorative t-shirts were made, and Benny the Bulls’ mascot showed up wanting photos with Alligator Bob. The alligator has received national media coverage and Miller Lite even tweeted out an ad with the gator.

At first, many were skeptical that an alligator was living in the Humboldt Park lagoon—until the animal surfaced again and more photos were published. Experts have speculated that it was an illegal pet which was dumped once the owner realized it wasn’t manageable. Alligators are illegal to own as pets in Illinois, but unfortunately they are commonly purchased online or bought as small 18-inch hatchlings in Florida.

The alligator in Humboldt Park is estimated to be about 4 to 5 feet long, although only its snout and eyes have popped up above water. Three traps were set by Alligator Bob who has spent the majority of his time at the lagoon since Tuesday.

Alligator Bob has said that the commotion and crowds is likely hurting the chance of safely capturing the alligator, which hasn’t been seen in about a day. The animal is considered a predator, but Bob emphasized that the animal is scared and it likely won’t attack a human. Still, the Park District strung up yellow caution tape and a warning sign.

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