Police managed to whisk a 2-foot-long alligator into a box after a traveler spotted it under an escalator at O’Hare International Airport. The person made the bizarre discovery Friday in the lower level of Terminal 3, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. The unexpected trespasser was transferred to the care of the Chicago Herpetological Society. The 3-year-old American alligator, dubbed “Allie” by police, was still “in distress ’’ Sunday and was suffering from a metabolic bone deficiency, which likely means its diet was poor and lacked calcium for some time before it was found, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Herpetological Society.
Alligators are not pets. Well, okay, maybe, MAYBE, if you have some kind of epic alligator-owner licence and you know what you’re doing and have the resources, you could, in theory, give a pet alligator a great life. But 99.99 per cent of people — including you, me, Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas and the dink who abandoned today’s headline-making snoogy-woogums — should not own alligators.
To conclude: DON’T GET A PET ALLIGATOR. Thank you.
And now for another indulgent note about a deceased pet. Willie the snake passed away last week. It’s all right: he had a good, long life and was very old. Willie was a male checkered garter snake and I bought him as an adult in early 1996, so that would make him at least 17. Not bad for a garter snake! Oh, the memories: shortly after I got him, he started slithering around his tank upside down. I thought he was toast but it turned out he was just vitamin B deficient, and a quick trip to the vet for a shot (yes, they give injections to sick snakes) fixed him right up.
In the last couple of years Willie lost some weight and developed what I assume were cataracts, but he was active and alert and eating right up to the end. It was just his time. He is survived by Klaus, Priscilla, Rusty, Mittens and Scoodles.
I don’t have any photos handy but here’s an episode of the Web TV series SnakeBytes that’s about checkered garters like Willie. They make good, low-maintenance pets for the right person.
Bon voyage, Willie! You were a good snakey-poo. You were handsomely patterned, good to handle, you never pooped in your water dish and you never bit anyone. What more could anyone ask? Good job! Good life.