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Alligator 'Chance the Snapper' still on the loose in Chicago park

Friday, July 12th 2019, 2:05 pm - The hunt for the alligator entered its fourth day on Friday.

Chances are if you're a frequent visitor to the U.S. South, you might already know to be on the lookout for alligators when you get near lakes and ponds. After this week, it looks like we're adding a city a lot further north to the watch list.

Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon is now home to its own gator -- this one a four to five-foot long beast, first spotted earlier this week as it cruised around the city's west side waters.

Now being embraced by social media and dubbed "Chance the Snapper" after thousands voted in an online poll, the alligator has been playing hard to get with would-be wranglers since it was reported to authorities on Tuesday.

A Chicago police spokesperson said officials aimed to have the animal humanely trapped and relocated to a zoo for examination on Tuesday night, but so far, 'Chance' has proven elusive. Despite several sightings, the hunt for the alligator entered its fourth day on Friday.

Chicago Park District workers putting up snow fencing around the lagoon Thursday to keep onlookers away from the water, according to The Chicago Tribune. Mamadou Diakhate, deputy director of Chicago Animal Care and Control, told The Tribune the fencing has a double purpose: To “protect kids from getting into the water — and give a certain quiet time to the alligator so it can get to the traps."

So far, the alligator doesn't seem to be going for the baited traps, and it might be a while before it does; alligators can go up to two months without eating, according to experts.

The weather might play a key role in the animal's eventual capture, however. Afternoon highs this week in Chicago have been hovering in the low-to-mid 30s -- the range where alligators are most active according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A slight dip in the jet stream, plus approaching cloud cover and moisture associated with Storm Barry, will nudge temperatures down slightly in the area over the next week.

Sources: NPR | Chicago Tribune | AV Club | WGN | CBC |


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