Field Museum Expert: Humboldt Gator Could Threaten Lagoon Wildlife

Jim Gudas
July 12, 2019 - 3:25 pm

Dulce Hernandez/Field Museum

Categories: 

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The alligator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon has caught the attention of one particular Chicago institution: the Field Museum.

Josh Mata works at the Field Museum with a collection of thousands of alligator and crocodile specimens kept in the museum’s sub-sub basement. It is one of the largest such collections in the world.

Mata said he is not concerned so much for the alligator’s safety, since the water in the Humboldt Park Lagoon is warm enough. Mata said he was more concerned for the lagoon’s frogs, birds and fish, which have no defenses against a gator.

"There is not a predator there normally for them so they think it is pretty calm and safe," Mata said.

He also admitted he was worried that someone with little knowledge of alligators might see it and try to capture it — even though it has evaded capture from Alligator Bob since Tuesday night when the traps were set.

Mata said an alligator the size of the one in the Humboldt Park Lagoon can be very dangerous, especially in the water. But Alligator Bob, who has been on the scene for days and once rescued an alligator (hence the name from ABC7), has told multiple media outlets it is highly unlikely the gator will try to hurt anyone since it's in a new environment and is probably scared.

Josh Mata of the Field Museum works with a collection of thousands of alligator and crocodile specimens kept in the museum’s sub-sub basement. (Dulce Hernandez/Field Museum)