A 8-foot alligator, which was allegedly removed from a Texas zoo nearly 20 years ago while still in an egg or hatchling, has been returned to the park after it was discovered living illegally in the backyard of a home near Austin, according to authorities.
Investigators were at a property in rural Caldwell County for an unrelated incident when they saw the alligator in a pen, Texas Game Wardens spokeswoman Jen Shugert said Monday.
A woman on the property told investigators that she had taken an alligator egg nearly 20 years ago when she was volunteering at a zoo, according to Shugert.
“Although there was a backyard habitat for the alligator, it had outgrown the pen because it was nearly 8 feet long,” Shugert said.
Once wildlife agency officials discovered the woman couldn’t meet the requirements for proper permits to keep the alligator, a team went to the property, captured the reptile, and brought it to Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, its original home, according to the zoo.