25-inch alligator found nearly frozen in Cleveland sewer now at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

CLEVELAND - The alligator found in the Big Creek by a sewer crew now has a home at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

A surveyor spotted the 25-inch alligator, now named Jenni, on Nov. 8 near Jennings and Harvard Roads, and reported it to Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District workers, the zoo said. The crew caught the nearly-frozen reptile and placed her in some warm water. Up until Tuesday morning, sewer district laboratory staff had been caring for Jenni.

"We have a very large group of people who love animals, and there was no way anyone would have let the alligator stay out there. He wouldn't have survived. He was limp," said NEORSD spokeswoman Jean Chapman. "We have a lot of interesting things that come through the sewer system and we see a lot of things out and about. An alligator though is certainly a surprise."

The alligator will now be in quarantine for 30 days at the zoo's center for zoological medicine, which is standard. After she checks out, Jenni will be part of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's conservation education programs, the zoo said on Tuesday.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which was also notified of the alligator's capture, said the animal might have been released so its owner could avoid fees with the state's new registration for exotic animals. The deadline to register was Nov. 5.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District said owners of exotic pets should not release them into any bodies of water or sewers, for the safety of the animals and workers.

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