ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Cute? Cuddly?
Maybe to some, but a baby gator may grow a foot a year, reaching 4 to 7 feet long, 270 to 800 pounds and can live 50 years in captivity.
But that doesn’t discourage would-be exotic pet owners.
“Actually, it’s not a bad conversation piece,” says Randy Gran, who sells exotic pets. “As long as you understand that when it gets to be 2 1/2 to 3 feet long, it’s probably something you want to get rid of.”
A Facebook page has surfaced with a campaign to “Save The Beaver Run Alligator.”
But the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County which provides drinking water to 400,000 customers is not interested in trapping the alligator and contends the beast is not dangerous roaming their posted property or a threat to the water supply.
The alligator won’t make it through the winter.
Buying a baby alligator at the West Hills Pet Center in Robinson Township will set you back $150 plus about $50 a month for food.
They counsel you before you go out the door.
But a lot of vacationers bring back Florida souvenirs for $30 to $40.
“I tell them right up front,” Randy Gran said. “I say, ‘Look, it’s a baby alligator, it’s not a dwarf, it’s not something that’s not going to grow.”
Gran actually will take overgrown gators back and send them to zoos.
“I want to make sure that they do have an out,” he said. “I don’t want them to end up in our local waters.”
If you’re tempted to dispose of exotics by setting them loose in the wild, if the state catches you, it’s a $100 fine and court costs.
“Call the zoo, call the Humane Society, someone will help you find a home,” Gran said. “You don’t need to just dump it.”