Gator hunt: Animal seen swimming in sewage treatment plant

People line the fence of the water treatment plant in Mineral Springs to try to get a glimpse of alligator. (WJAC)

MINERAL SPRINGS, Pa. (WJAC) - It’s an animal you’d expect to see roaming wild in the South, but never here in Pennsylvania.

An alligator has been causing quite the commotion in a small Clearfield County town.

On Monday, there was a constant flow of people at the wastewater treatment plant in Mineral Springs. They said searching for the gator is the most exciting thing that’s happened in their town in a long time.

Officials said the alligator was spotted at the plant by some PennDot workers last week and has been swimming in the facility’s water since.

More than 20 people lined up along the fence of the water treatment plant Monday, all hoping to catch a glimpse of its newest visitor.

“Oh, there, he went under,” said one person.

“This is great,” said Gary Turner. “This is excellent. [It’s the] last thing I expected in Central Pennsylvania.”

A video sent to 6 News by a viewer shows the alligator swimming over the weekend with its head above the water.

“Whenever I was driving past to get to my uncle's house, my mom told me that someone must have threw an alligator over the fence and it’s in the water,” said James Johnson.

David Loustalot moved to Clearfield County seven years ago from Louisiana. He says he knows a thing or two about catching gators.

“I was born and raised playing with them and it’s just something when you live around,” Loustalot said. “It’s what you do.”

Loustalot has volunteered to help a private contractor hired by the state Fish and Boat Commission to capture the alligator. So far, he says they’ve tried baiting it with dead animals and snagging it with a fishing hook.

“It’s about 2 1/2, 3 foot at the most,” Loustalot said. “It’s really not that big, so it’s really not ... it’s a baby, so it’s more scared of you than you are it.”

Officials said they believe the alligator was someone’s pet. Loustalot said this size of an alligator is not really a threat.

“We’re [going to] catch it, yeah. It’s [going to] get caught,” Loustalot said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

6 News is still waiting to hear from the Fish and Boat Commission to see what kind of penalties, if any, the person who let the alligator go will face.

Officials with the Woodland-Bigler Area Authority said they're looking into giving the alligator to One Dog at a Time once it's caught.

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