Often treated as an urban legend, sewer alligators tend to get a bad rap. Most stories usually revolved around rich New York socialites who, upon noticing the increasingly large threat their pet poses to their limbs, would flush the animal down the toilet. This established the basis of alligators swimming beneath our feet.

Just a fantasy? Not so fast. According to The Tampa Bay Times, a Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) crew and local sheriff’s deputies had to rescue an 8-foot adult alligator that was emerging from a storm drain in Seminole, Florida. The gator had attempted to exit the sewer before getting stuck in the roadside gutter last week. The sight of its snout snapping at the air attracted the attention of bystanders, who promptly notified the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A trapper from the FWC assisted deputies and a few brave bystanders in hauling the alligator out through a nearby manhole.

Several similar occurrences took place across the country, even in locations there are not the most hospitable to the reptiles. A young gator was rescued in Cleveland, Ohio last year when it was found half-frozen in a city sewer. Officials don’t know how it got in there, but there is speculation that the alligator was a former pet that was unceremoniously dumped in order to avoid exotic animal registration fees. So there is a grain of truth to the myth.

Officials are currently inspecting the Florida gator for injuries, after which it will be transported to an alligator farm near Dover.

Image courtesy Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

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