Reggie The Alligator – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura
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Los Angeles, California

Reggie The Alligator

Raised illegally, Reggie now lives at the Los Angeles Zoo after authorities spent years tracking him down. 

First seen swimming in Machado Lake at Harbor City in California, Reggie the Alligator became a media sensation in 2005, inspiring a line of merchandise after he was named the official mascot of the nearby Los Angeles Harbor College.

It is suspected that Reggie, now six and one half feet long, was raised in illegal captivity and released by his handlers - two men from San Pedro - into the lake when he was no longer wanted.

Now in captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo, Reggie wasn’t caught until 2007 despite efforts in 2005. That year, after he was first spotted, officials roped off the entire 53-acre Machado Lake and sent in professional “gator wranglers” to capture him. After three months, they gave up. Reggie, despite being seen a number of times, disappeared altogether and wasn’t seen again until April of 2007. It took a month, but five or six officials finally seized the alligator when he tried to cross a 300-foot area of dry land. Reggie was rushed to the zoo in a white truck complete with police escort and news helicopters overheard. Before his death, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, had offered to help capture Reggie.

In August, Reggie disappeared from his habitat at the zoo. He was later found near a loading dock within the zoo proper and returned to his cage. Keepers promised that changes would be made to his habitat to keep Reggie from escaping again.

Several years after his arrival at the zoo, in 2010, a female alligator was added to Reggie’s exhibit.