Unexpected Alligator Surfaces in Pittsburgh-Area River

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For residents of Western Pennsylvania, there are some scary realities they face regularly: irregular traffic patterns, nasty winters, and the fear of the Steelers suffering a loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Rarely on the list of woes, however, is encountering a live alligator in public waters.

In early August, however, this became a reality for residents near Kiskiminetas (Kiski) Township, which seats northeast of the Steel City.

An Unnatural and Unexpected Specimen

Alligator Pittsburgh PA
Photo via Aaron Schultz/Premier Angler

Alligators are not native to Western Pennsylvania, nor is the appearance of one in a public river a common occurrence.

WTAE in Pittsburgh notes that Kiski Township Police Chief Lee Bartolicius says the origins of the gator are unknown. The report also notes that Bartolicius says officials are working under the assumption that this particular may be a discarded pet.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Bartolicius and his team has been receiving reports about the gator in late July. Police and fire departments spent considerable time over the next week attempting to locate and secure the invading gator.

Is the Gator Still on the Loose?

Fortunately for residents of the area (as well as local wildlife and the gator itself), the roughly 4-foot long gator was secured by two kayak anglers on Sunday, August 6.

The WTAE report notes that the anglers were able to grab the gator out of the water and bring it to shore.

Since its retrieval, the gator has been named “Chomper.”

Fortunately, it does not appear that the name was earned because of any notable attacks to humans.

Chomper’s Future

While reports suggest that Chomper is relatively docile and healthy, it is unlikely that the reptile will be attending any games at PNC or Acrisure in the near future.

WTAE News reports that instead, Chomper is being located to a nearby reptile rescue facility. The goal from there is to relocate the gator to a specialized facility once it reaches maturity.

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