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Monday, June 24, 2024

Another alligator sighting reported on Kiski River near Pittsburgh

An alligator was spotted again in western Pennsylvania’s Kiski River over the weekend, marking the third sighting and at least the second alligator seen along the waterway in recent months,CBS Pittsburgh reported.

The latest sighting happened Saturday, according to the station, which shared video footage recorded by Teresa Jeroski, a kayaker who filmed the encounter. Jeroski told CBS Pittsburgh that she became aware of the reptile after three fellow kayakers saw the alligator swimming in front of her. She estimated that the animal was around 18 to 20 inches long. It appears directly beside her kayak the video, treading water before swimming away.

It was not clear whether the alligator seen Saturday was the same reptile observed along the Kiski River earlier this month, CBS Pittsburgh reported. The Kiskiminetas, or Kiski, runs for about 27 miles through a portion of western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.

A group of kayakers spotted another alligator on the river over Labor Day weekend. That animal appeared to be an escaped domestic pet named Neo, measuring about 2 feet long. The gator’s owner, Austin Randall, told CBS Pittsburgh around the time of the sighting that Neo had gotten loose from his container while being moved to the home of one of Randall’s friends, who also raises alligators.

In July, kayakers captured a 4-foot alligator that came to be known as “Chomper” after multiple sightings along the Kiski River gave way to an eight-day search, involving both authorities and community volunteers. Chomper was believed to be abandoned by his owner before venturing out onto the river banks, Kiski Township Police Chief Lee Bartolicius said while announcing that the animal was “in custody.”

Alligators are not native to Pennsylvania. Capable of growing up to 12 feet long, American alligators can be found in the coastal wetlands of the southeastern United States, as far north as North Carolina and as far west as eastern Texas, according to the National Wildlife Federation. In light of the uptick in alligator sightings on the Kiski River, officials in Kiski Township said in early September that they were looking to pass a law regulating how the reptiles are kept as pets.

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