Chance the Snapper, the elusive alligator who captured America’s attention when he slyly moved into Chicago’s Humboldt Park, is no longer at large. Chicago officials confirmed the reptile fugitive was caught early Tuesday morning.
Chicago Animal Care and Control Executive Director Kelley Gandurski said during a press conference later Tuesday that the city believes the alligator was an illegal pet someone dumped in the lagoon.
The now-famous swamp-dweller also made an appearance at the press conference, delighting the crowd. There were audible “awws” from journalists and onlookers present when Chance was revealed.
For a week, the gator drew crowds and eventually shut down part of the park as he swam in the park’s lagoon, evading “Alligator Bob,” a volunteer with the Chicago Herpetological Society, according to the Washington Post. Bob, who has not shared his last name, laid traps for days in an effort to catch the reptile that somehow ended up over a thousand miles from his natural habitat of Florida.
On Sunday, the city brought in another gator expert — Frank Robb from Florida — who advised the city to shut down the eastern half of the park and some nearby streets to limit the crowds that seemed to scare Chance, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Robb said during Tuesday’s press conference that efforts to catch Chance “went exactly as we planned,” explaining that they found the gator on the north side of the lagoon. Chance made a noise, and Robb “saw his eye shine and caught him on the fishing rod.”
Chance the Snapper was named after another famous Chicagoan —Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper. The human Chance seemed to approve, and retweeted pictures and articles of his reptilian namesake.
In addition to his celebrity supporter, the gator also gained a large following of people both in Chicago and around the country. A Latin band composed a song in his honor, and businesses began to capitalize on the phenomenon. And, as with any viral phenomenon, a Twitter account was created in his honor.
This is not the only alligator story to captivate the nation this week. In Tennessee, officials recently urged drug users not to flush their paraphernalia down toilets because of concerns that drugs contaminating the water supply would lead to “meth gators.”