PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - It's been hotter in Rhode Island than in Florida lately – so it's only fitting there's been a Gator sighting in downtown Providence.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says it has received calls about an alligator spotted near the Woonasquatucket River near Atwells Avenue and Valley Street.
An Eyewitness News viewer sent in a picture via ReportIt - showing the big reptile on the river bank. The viewer said the gator was two- to three-feet long.
A few weeks ago, William Vargas was walking near the river when the animal snapped at him.
"I came here everyday and the alligator I saw all the time...over here and over there," Vargas said.
The DEM believes somebody had it as a pet without a permit, and ended up throwing it in the river once it became too big. The department cautions people to avoid the reptile but say it is not too much of a worry.
"In reality a three-foot alligator is not much more of a threat than a fox or a coyote, something like that," Scott Marshall from the Department of Environmental Management said.
Instead of removing the animal, officials will let it stay where it is.
"They're very difficult to catch. Whenever you try to approach them they just dive and they can stay under the water for prolonged periods, so its kind of an exercise in futility," Marshall said.
The DEM says anyone who has a pet gator needs to get a permit. While it's hot right now, they doubt the gator would be able to survive those cold New England winter months.
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