Caiman found in FDR Park in Philadelphia euthanized by officials

The three-foot-long reptile was believed to be someone's pet that was set loose.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Friday, March 24, 2023
Caiman found in FDR Park euthanized: Officials
The caiman that was found in FDR Park last week has been euthanized by officials.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An exotic reptile found roaming in Philadelphia's FDR Park has been euthanized by officials.

The caiman was found on March 6 by a local fisherman. The Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) later took the animal, which is when experts discovered it was a caiman, not an alligator.

The three-foot-long reptile was believed to be someone's pet that was set loose.

"This is somebody's pet. Somebody ordered this maybe online, it grew to be a lot bigger than they thought it would be, or there are a lot of myths out there, which are if you feed them less they will stay small, which is literally starving an animal," the executive director of ACCT Philly, Sarah Barnett, formerly told 6abc.

Sadly, wildlife officials confirmed on Wednesday the caiman had to be put down.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission said they couldn't find a sanctuary for the reptile and had to euthanize it.

Caimans are not native to the United States. The species typically inhabits bodies of water in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Meanwhile, ACCT Philly released this statement to Action News, saying it was unaware euthanasia was being considered:

"It's extremely sad to hear that Cay Man was euthanized after we had been told he would go to a rehab facility. We would have found alternative placement had we known euthanasia was being considered. Sadly, the harder an animal is to place and the less furry and fuzzy they are, the more likely they are to be failed by people, and Cay Man was failed multiple times along the way.

They are difficult animals to care for, and ideally would never be pets, but for those who have not been born in the wild and need homes, there are organizations who can provide that care.

We hope anyone considering a pet like this will choose to foster for a reptile rescue instead. We ask that any organization that was in a position to take him reach out to us to become a rescue partner so that the next Cay Man we take in will find placement where they will truly get the care they need to live long healthy lives. "