Let's face it: One of the reasons that I would NEVER live in the south is due to an influx of alligators roaming around city streets, highways, private residences and there have been reports of these slimy creatures spotted in people's swimming pools. They are creepy and repulsive looking reptiles and my word of warning is to keep your distance because their voracious appetite includes those of the human persuasion. It is always advisable to keep pets away from unfamiliar bodies of water as these creatures have a fierce element of surprise and they have a tendency to come out of the water when you least expect it.

I was floored to hear that one of these creepy critters was spotted not too far way from us in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Last week, Joseph Matteson did NOT have a Dr. Bellows moment (He was the NASA psychiatrist, wonderfully played by Hayden Rorke, who was always accused of seeing things that were out of the ordinary in the classic 60's NBC sit-com "I Dream Of Jeannie") as he was walking parallel to The Connecticut River. The gator was also seen multiple times within a week as Matteson decided to take a picture to show proof that he was not imagining the frightening image that is highly uncommon in our area.

He recently was interviewed by Newsweek Magazine as his thoughts on the matter were shared to a worldwide group of readers who were mystified by his gruesome sighting:

"I noticed something different in the water and I looked down and it was an alligator. Massachusetts is NOT the natural habitat for this creature as we mostly see bass and fish, maybe a snake here and there"

Matteson was trying to convince some of his friends this was a real sighting and they actually saw the 4 foot gator swimming in the water. phone calls were then promptly made to The Bay State's Division Of Fisheries and Wildlife as they also joined forces with West Springfield's Animal Control and Massachusetts Environmental Police as efforts to capture this unwelcome guest have proved unsuccessful as they also cited limited search efforts to pinpoint the gator's exact location.

There are reports that indicate the alligator could have been released by a local resident (Question: Who would be crazy enough to have an alligator for a pet?) That is strange and bizarre if you ask me as the unidentified owner released the reptile in the river because they realized it is against the law to own these types of animals in The Bay State (Bravo on that law).

According to The National Wildlife Federation, alligators are normally found in general wetlands south of North Carolina (over 700 miles away from our state) and they are unable to survive in winter weather because of their need for warm water all year round. They remain dormant during cold weather months due to a rapid slowdown of their metabolic activity.

I'll give kudos to Old Man Winter on this one. If he can keep these slimy, creepy creatures away from our backyard, I'm on board for sure. We'll end with an update as the alligator has yet to be caught, but if anything materializes, we'll keep you posted. Last word of warning: Stay away from The Connecticut River, especially if you're in the West Springfield area.

(Some background information courtesy of an article published in Newsweek Magazine. Thanks also to Kevin Titus for forwarding this story to me so we can share it with our listening audience)

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