A small alligator initially spotted near the Peconic River in Calverton five days ago is doing its best to evade its captors.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation received its first notification regarding the gator on Sunday after witnesses spotted the reptile near the Connecticut Avenue boat launch, according to Aphrodite Montalvo, a DEC spokeswoman.
A witness spotted the potentially four-foot long gator again on Wednesday and the DEC made visual confirmation a day later, she said. But the scaly gator is still at large.
“They spent a few hours trying to catch it on Thursday and were unsuccessful,” Montalvo said, adding that DEC officers are continuing the search.
Recent storms that have dropped about 8 inches of rain on LI in the last week have made the search even more difficult because the water level in the Peconic River has risen and the water is moving “quite quickly,” Montalvo added.
Alligators are illegal in New York State unless permits are approved for educational purposes.
DEC officers are searching for the gator in the same vicinity where four baby alligators were captured from the Peconic River in April, and six months after nine other gators were discovered in a span of six weeks.
Last fall’s alligator problem prompted the DEC and Suffolk County SPCA to hold an illegal reptile amnesty day.
DEC officials have said that people acquire gators and soon discover that it becomes difficult to care for them once they grow.
The baby alligators are capable of surviving the summer months but can’t withstand Northeast winters.
The area of the most recent gator sighting is currently closed off, but if anyone does spot one, they should call DEC officers at 631-444-0250, Montalvo said.