Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Alligator caught with trampoline net in Berks County

Elusive wallaby is another story.

An alligator is once again in the hands of his owner in Longswamp, Berks County, after Galvin Wildlife service hauled it out of a backyard pond using trampoline safety netting on Oct. 9, 2013. At rear is Keith Galvin Sr.
An alligator is once again in the hands of his owner in Longswamp, Berks County, after Galvin Wildlife service hauled it out of a backyard pond using trampoline safety netting on Oct. 9, 2013. At rear is Keith Galvin Sr.
An alligator is once again in the hands of his owner in Longswamp, Berks County, after Galvin Wildlife service hauled it out of a backyard pond using trampoline safety netting on Oct. 9, 2013. At rear is Keith Galvin Sr. Gallery: Gators Hiding Here

It was indeed a case of see ya later, alligator, in Berks County.

Tuesday evening, Christine Knight went to her backyard pond to feed her koi fish, when she noticed a four-foot-long gator, also heading toward her backyard pond, according to reports.

The town's founders probably didn't have gators in mind when they named it Longswamp.

Knight's father and a wildlife service were unsuccessful in finding the predator, so more searching was set for today.

This afternoon, Galvin Wildlife service returned, and realizing the dark dye in the pond hid everything beneath the surface, improvised a way to urge the creature out. They dragged the safety netting from a trampoline across the pond.

Out came the creature, who was so sluggish from the cold, Keith Galvin Jr. had little trouble with the capture, according to Keith Galvin Sr. 

Seems to have also had a tummyful of large goldfish.

Turned out the gator belonged to a neighbor, whose vet suggested the animal would be healthier if it got a little sun, Galvin Sr. said.

Apparently, it also decided to get some exercise and escaped three days ago.

Soon after the capture, the neighbor was holding up the gator for TV cameras.

Alligators may not be native to Pennsylvania, but Galvin Sr. has seen his share in 20 years. He's snared seven, along with five cayman and a crocodile.

He's also caught emu, though nobody's caught the wallaby that's been on the loose near Slatington for years.

It's at least the fourth alligator sighting around the region in the last year.

In August, a three-footer was allegedly seen in a pond at Cairn University in Langhorne Manor, Bucks County.

In May, an 18-incher was snagged after apparently emergercing from a sewer grate in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood.

In November, a three-foot gator was apprehended behind a woodpile in Hanover, York County, after being spotted by a 7-year-old girl.

These creatures are almost always escaped or abandoned pets, wildlife experts say.

Although owning dangerous exotic animals like alligators is illegal in New Jersey, they're regulated by local ordinances, not state laws, in Pennsylvania.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

 

 

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