“Alligators kept as specimens at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries aquarium in Washington, D.C, are being tried out as plumber’s assistants to open up clogged pipes. Placed in a length of pipe that is stopped up with silt and sediment, the reptile digs his way through, opening up a small hole which water later will widen by its pressure as it sweeps through.”

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From: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2007/04/04/plumbers-use-alligators-to-open-clogged-pipes/

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Wednesday November 29, 2006 – “It was found behind an apartment building in Brooklyn, not in the sewers of Manhattan; it isn’t particularly big (under two feet long, police say); nor is it even, strictly speaking, an alligator (it’s a caiman).  Still, press reports on yesterday’s discovery of an abandoned saurian are likening it to the age-old urban legend about discarded pet alligators thriving in the New York City sewer system. Some say the creatures grow to monstrous size and turn white due to the lack of sunlight.

The urban legend is false, of course, but “gator” sightings do occur with some regularity in New York and environs, odd as it seems. The last such incident happened five years ago, when a specimen of similar size — dubbed “Damon the Caiman” by city officials — was captured in Central Park. Though illegal in the city, caimans can be bought on the Internet and are sometimes kept as pets, only to be abandoned when they outgrow their welcome.”

From David Emery’s Urban Legend Blog (urbanlegend.about.com)

Alligator vs. Caiman - Caimans are the most common alligator pets. They are a so called miniature alligator.

Alligator vs. Caiman - Caimans are the most common alligator pets. They are a so called miniature alligator.

“Although the story of the ‘Sewer Gator’ in New York City is well known and various versions have been told and built up over the decades, recent reports validate that the stories are much more than urban myth.

A trapper reported an abundance of the reptiles in sewers in Ormond Beach, Florida, as he told WFTV that they were using the sewer to travel through the city after sighting the first one with its tail sticking out from a sewer pipe in October 2005.”

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From: http://www.lifeinthefastlane.ca/weirdest-things-found-in-sewers-and-drains/offbeat-news

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“New Yorkers are supposed to be born skeptics, but we’re actually the most accomplished spinners of these tall tales. Not only is New York featured in urban legends that spread around the globe, there are scores of homegrown legends associated with Gotham landmarks.

“Because this city is so large and diverse, it’s particularly rich in urban myths,” says Steve Zeitlin, director of CityLore, a Manhattan-based organization that collects area folklore.

From sewer alligators to skyscraper-spooking ghosts, urban legends are the contemporary equivalent of fairy tales, injecting a note of the fantastic into otherwise predictable modern life. But no matter how bizarre, most urban legends are just this side of believable — and often betray real concern about issues such as crime, health care and sexual promiscuity.”

From “Tales from the Urban Crypt: Legendary Whoppers about Gotham run the Ghastly and Ghostly Gamut” by J. D. Heiman

See: http://www.delorenzosdugout.com/urbanlegends.htm

The Alligator People _1959_

Possible images of Alligator/People Hybrids from the 1959 film “The Alligator People.”

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Alligator People

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Film Trailer:

On Urban Legends

April 24, 2009

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“I also found the fabled albino New York City sewer alligator. They are extinct now. Maybe the C.H.U.D.s killed them all?”

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From: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/klugx004/theblog/cat_music.html

Canstruction

April 24, 2009

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SAN DIEGO –  Dec. 13, 2004 – Representing the urban legend of the “New York City Sewergator,” a sculpture of an alligator made out of Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna cans is the 2nd place Peoples’ Choice Winner for a Canstruction event.

Canstruction is a charity event held in cities across the United States and abroad where architecture and engineering firms design and build sculptures composed entirely of canned food.  After the event, food is donated to local food banks and shelters.

For the first time in Canstruction’s 12-year history, the public was invited to vote for their favorite sculptures, which were on display at the New York Design Center.  More than 2,700 votes were cast between Nov. 11 and Nov. 24; votes were tallied Dec. 2.

The “NYC Sewergator” was created by Weidlinger Associates and used approximately 1,300 3-ounce, 6-ounce and 12-ounce Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna cans, which were donated by the seafood company.

Quotes from the Experts

April 24, 2009

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“The theme of displaced creatures is an old one, and modern folklore has spawned many rumors of an animal — usually a fearsome one — lurking where it does not belong.” — Jan Harold Brunvand, folklorist

“I would bring leftovers from lunch, a long line and a hook, and spend a part of each day in the sewers looking for alligators. I saw rats, cockroaches — probably caught a lot of sicknesses — but I never saw anything like an alligator.” — Frank Indiviglio, herpetologist

“It’s like the Loch Ness Monster or the Big Foot. People believe in those stories up to a point that it does make sense.” — Esteban Rodriguez, NYC sewer worker

“What could better serve as a metaphor for the city as a jungle than the belief that the New York sewer system is filled with albino alligators, which swim through toilet pipes and bite victims in public washrooms?” — Gary Alan Fine, folklorist

“We pulled it out of a 8 inch line in Edmonton, I actually don’t know what it is, but I do know it sure scared me when I saw it on the CCTV, I thought we were going to have to call in CSI as it looked like it might have been Human. I just saw the back part and the curve of the jaw. It was a rather scary day.”  From: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beothuk/279622661/in/set-72157594345353903/

Speculation and Comments:

“It is an Herbivore, but what kind? I would hazard a guess by size, if it were domestic, a sheep or goat, if it were wild, a deer, or Caribou. If you know, I would be interested in hearing what is was.”

“It is the lower jaw of a domestic pig (or it could be a “feral” pig). It’s also a young one because behind the rear molars is a set of teeth that hasn’t yet erupted (come through the bone). I am intrigued by the wear in the middle teeth of the left jaw though – rough diet?”

“Still, that is a really weird thing to be pulling from a sewer line. Oh yeah – also look at the lower canine teeth that basically function as tusks. They are larger in adult males. Good find!”

Suggested Resources (for comparison):
www.flickr.com/photos/barbara-h/172343604/
www.flickr.com/photos/cat-sidh/83465171/
www.coueswhitetail.com/other_hunters/y-vs-old -lower-jaw-2…