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10th Feb 2022

Man found driving with alligator in his car facing criminal charges

Steve Hopkins

Seeya later alligator!

Police got an unlikely surprise when they pulled over a man suspected of driving under the influence in North California.

His passenger was an alligator.

Officers stopped Tyler Watson near Anderson, having been alerted to concerns about the 29-year-old’s driving.

Watson was arrested at the scene for violating a probation order, but the traffic stop took a bizarre turn when Watson alerted police to the gator while being led away in handcuffs.

“Officers looked into the vehicle and found there was in fact a live alligator,” the Anderson Police Department wrote in a Facebook post, which was accompanied by pictures of the officers posing with the baby reptile, which appeared to have its snout bound shut with tape.

The alligator had been sitting in the footwell on the passenger side of the car surrounded by plastic bottles and food wrappers.

“Animal Control Officers and a Game Warden from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the scene to assist and took possession of the alligator,” the police post continued.

American Alligators have been listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act since 1966.

Following the discovery, police said Watson would face additional charges of unlawful possession of an alligator.

After being taken into custody at the Shasta County Jail Watson reportedly told police that he had been looking after the animal for about a week after the original owner was also arrested.

Under California law it is illegal to keep an alligator as a pet without a proper license, while a 2019 law also banned their sale and importation in the state over concerns about illicit trading of exotic pets and their body parts.

There are an estimated five million alligators in the United States, including 1.5 million in the state of Florida alone.

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