Mar 7, 2023 - News

Caiman in Philadelphia's FDR Park needs a home

He needs new owners. Photo: courtesy of ACCT Philly

Animal welfare officials are working to find a home for the caiman found roaming FDR Park on Sunday.

Driving the news: The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission picked up the three-and-a-half-foot-long creature from ACCT Philly’s headquarters Monday and was searching for a rehab center or sanctuary to house the animal while securing it a permanent home, ACCT Philly executive director Sarah Barnett told Axios.

Catch up quick: The person who phoned police just before 10am Sunday to report the reptile initially mistook it for an alligator, a Philadelphia Police spokesperson told Axios.

  • Cayman — as officials are calling the amphibious carnivore — was hungry, so ACCT Philly has been feeding it bits of chicken, Barnett said.
  • Caimans aren't typically a threat to humans but can have a taste for small canines.

The big picture: Nearly 1,000 animals were surrendered to ACCT Philly last year, according to Barnett. On the list of more exotic pets rescued or surrendered over the years: a water monitor, a tegu and an albino python.

Zoom in: Pennsylvania issues permits allowing people to keep exotic pets, including caimans.

Yes, but: It's illegal to unleash any member of the crocodilia order into the wild.

What they’re saying: Philly police and animal control officers believe a pet owner who could no longer care for Cayman let him go.

  • “More than likely this person is going to get away with it,” said Barnett, who encouraged others to contact her organization if they have exotic animals they’d like to surrender. “People make stupid decisions, but we won’t tell your mom. Just reach out to us.”
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