In an unexpected turn of events, a 7-foot alligator was discovered in the American River at Sailor Bar in Fair Oaks, a location not typically known for alligator sightings. The Wildlife Care Association first learned about the alligator last week from Robert Valenti, who claimed to be assisting his neighbor in the area.
“He said, ‘I’m trying to help my neighbor out.’ He was fishing at Sailor Bar and he noticed that there was an alligator sitting on the rocks. He said, ‘So I went over there with my trailer. I saw the alligator. It was hissing and I jumped on the alligator, taped it’s mouth shut and put it in my trailer,'” said Sandra Foreman, the facility manager at the Wildlife Care Association.
Foreman doubts that the alligator has been living in the American River for an extended period, as the cold water would have made survival difficult. She suspects that someone kept the reptile as a pet and abandoned it when it became too large to manage. The Department of Fish and Wildlife, which currently has custody of the animal, is investigating its origins and trying to understand the situation’s suspiciousness.
“They were already getting tipped off about an alligator in the Sacramento area. And I believe they were trying to confirm that this was, in fact, the alligator they were getting tipped on,” said Foreman.
The Wildlife Care Association is cautioning the public that California enforces stringent laws regarding wildlife ownership due to safety concerns.