BOISE, Idaho — It's not uncommon for Idaho wildlife officials to be called for help when a moose, mountain lion, black bear or other wild animals wander into one of the state's rural communities.
But Idaho Fish and Game officials are asking the public for help with a particularly unusual find — a 3.5-foot alligator that was discovered hiding in the brush of a rural neighborhood about 40 miles northwest of Boise.
A New Plymouth resident was walking their dog Thursday evening when they noticed something moving in the brush, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said in a press release. Further investigation revealed the alligator — a creature commonly found in the coastal wetlands of the southeastern U.S., but certainly not native to Idaho.
The resident put the alligator in a nearby horse trailer until Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers could pick it up on Friday morning, the release said. The department has the animal in captivity for now, but a spokesperson told the Idaho Statesman that it will be euthanized or given to a licensed facility unless the owner is located.
“In all likelihood, this alligator got loose from someone, and we are interested in finding the owner,” said Regional Conservation Officer Matt O’Connell in the press release.
Idaho Fish and Game officials are hoping members of the public will call the department if they have any information about the alligator's origins.
According to the release, it is illegal to own alligators or other crocodilians in Idaho without the right permits. It's also illegal to release them into the wild.
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Val Lick contributed to this report.