It’s no urban legend: An alligator was found in a chilly New York City lake on Sunday, far from the subtropical and tropical climates where such creatures thrive.
The 4-foot (1.2-meter) reptile was pulled from Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn around 8:30 a.m. and taken to an animal care center and then the Bronx Zoo for medical treatment and rehabilitation.
City officials said the gator appeared lethargic and possibly cold-shocked. It was likely dumped as an unwanted pet, they said. Releasing animals in city parks is illegal. Police are investigating.
For years, New Yorkers have pondered the myth that alligators roam the city’s sewer system, even celebrating Alligators in the Sewers Day as an unofficial February holiday.
Sightings like Sunday’s help keep the urban legend alive, but experts throw cold water on the sewer theory. Alligators aren’t suited to the sewer system's frigid, toxic environment, they say.