A second illegal reptile amnesty day has been scheduled for next week on Long Island, where more than a dozen illegally released alligators have turned up since last year, officials said.
Anyone who owns an illegal reptile or amphibian can anonymously drop it off, no questions asked, from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Petco on Middle Country Road in Selden, according to the Suffolk County SPCA.
“People who are in possession of these animals unlawfully can turn them in to us without fear of prosecution,” said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk SPCA. “No one will be asked to give their name.”
Trained reptile handlers will be on hand for the event, the second since April, when three gators were turned in. It is in partnership with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The only requirement is that the animal be in a container.
Gross said 18 alligators have been unlawfully released in the area, including five this summer in Suffolk County and one in Mount Vernon. Thirteen had been found between in Nassau and Suffolk counties September and April. Most recently, a 2 ½-foot python was found on a Bay Shore side street two weeks ago.
Owning alligators is illegal without proper permit, but those that buy baby gators anyway release them when they get older and more difficult to handle. They cannot survive cold New York winters.
“Abandoned and dangerous reptiles and amphibians have become an all to common occurrence here on Long Island,” said Peter Scully, the LI regional director of the DEC. “All too often, individuals do not realize the difficulties and complications that arise from owning one of these animals.”
Animals that will be accepted include large constrictor snakes such as the Burmese Python, Reticulated Python, African Rock Python, Green Anaconda, Yellow Anaconda, Australian Amethystine Python and Indian Python.
Large lizards and Monitors accepted include the Asiatic (water) Monitor, Nile Monitor, White Throat Monitor, Black Throat Monitor, Crocodile Monitor, Komodo Dragon and all species and sub-species of Crocodilia such as alligators, crocodiles and caimans.