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Experts: Gators in northern waters probably pets

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago's alligator isn't the only one showing up far from the reptiles' native southern habitats.

Since Sunday, gators also have been spotted strolling down a Massachusetts street and hiding under a car in New York City. Since spring, gators also have been found in Fargo, N.D., eastern Missouri, upstate New York, rural Indiana, Ohio and a Detroit suburb.

Experts say the creatures almost certainly were pets that escaped or were dumped by their owners, but probably wouldn't have survived the winter in colder climates.

On Tuesday, a volunteer from the Chicago Herpetological Society snared a 3-foot-long alligator with a net -- three weeks after capturing a 2 1/2-foot gator in the same area.

It's illegal to keep alligators as pets in Illinois.

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