'An Amazing Capture': Alligator Caught In Humboldt Park Lagoon After Weeklong Search

Mike Krauser
July 16, 2019 - 7:40 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A four-foot alligator - that someone set free in the Humboldt Park lagoon - was caught early Tuesday after it was first spotted a week ago. 

The alligator, named Chance the Snapper by fans, was first spotted in the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Tuesday, July 9. "Alligator Bob" from the Chicago Herpetological Society, who was originally called in to capture, it set up baited traps around the lagoon, but had no luck. 

On Sunday night, Chicago Animal Care and Control closed the east half of Humboldt Park in an effort to humanely capture the alligator, in hopes it would be easier to find without the crowds of spectators.

Alligator captured in Humboldt Park lagoon
Chicago Animal Care and Control

“It is likely that residents who have been watching from the lagoon banks and paths in the park have been influencing the animal’s behavior,” Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control said in a statement. 

The CACC also hired Frank Robb, an alligator expert and owner of Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, Florida. Robb arrived in Chicago on July 14 and immediately began assessing the park and lagoon. Robb, CACC, The Chicago Park District, Chicago police as well as other participating agencies took steps to ensure the park is as calm and quiet as possible, which will increase the chances of capturing the alligator.

Chicago Animal Care and Control Executive Director Kelley Gandurski said Tuesday at a press conference that the elusive alligator was captured due to the help of alligator expert, Frank Robb at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Northwest Side of the lagoon near the island. 

"This is an amazing capture by Mr. Robb," she said. "He was able to use his methods...and capture it unharmed and safe. It is a beautiful alligator. He appears to be very healthy in nature and we are just so proud of Chicago coming together."

Robb thanked the city of Chicago for their assistance and planning. 

"It went exactly as we planned," Robb said. "It was a very blessed experience, everyone was awesome."

 Frank Robb, an alligator expert with the alligator captured in the Humboldt Park lagoon
WBBM Newsradio/Mike Krauser

Robb said overnight the alligator became vocalized - "speaking a little bit of crocadilly" - and he saw its eyes glow. He said he caught the alligator with a fishing rod, from the shoreline, and that the capture happened fast, once it was located.

"Once we were able to see him, it was one cast and done," Robb said.

He caught the base of the alligator’s tail with a weighted treble hook thrown from a fishing rod with 200-pound test line. Robb said the hook didn’t actually penetrate the skin or hurt the gator, and as soon as he had his hands on the animal the hook fell out.

When asked about Alligator Bob and how his tactics differ, Robb said everyone has their blessing. 

"This is my blessing. It is what I have spent every day of my life doing for the past 24 years," Robb said.

Robb said the alligator is a male, weighing about 30 to 40 pounds, and about 5-foot-3-inches long. 

"Wherever he came from, or however he got here, he is a very healthy animal," he said.

This is the first alligator Frank Robb has captured outside the state of Florida.

Officials said the alligator will be taken to a wildlife sanctuary or zoo to live out its days.