Texas Alligator Returned to Zoo After Being Raised as a Pet for 20 Years

Authorities believe he was stolen as an egg or hatchling.

One Texas woman had to say 'see you later, alligator' to her pet of 20 years after they were seized by state officials.

As it turns out, this gator had been stolen from the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels, Texas, back when their owner was a volunteer. Now, they've returned to living at that very same zoo. An NBC News YouTube video shows the animal being carried to a truck, on their way back home.

According to NPR, Texas Game Warden Joann Garza-Mayberry was responding to an unrelated call at a central Texas home when she noticed an alligator on the property. The animal had been "living in a fenced-in area with an artificial pond — the type of water feature often found in a landscaped garden," and was reportedly well taken care of.

Unfortunately, the animal had been stolen, and their owner was not able to acquire the proper permits to keep them in her care. In Texas, an 'alligator farmer permit' is required in order to keep a living gator, due to safety concerns. An animal can learn to associate people with food when a person regularly feeds them, so--in this case-- the Texas game wardens contacted their local zoo for support.

Now, the gator's previous owner is facing two tickets for illegal possession of an animal. NPR reports that each ticket is worth about $500.

As for the gator, though, they're getting used to life back in a zoo setting. They now have other alligators to keep them company, and their previous owner might even be able to visit someday.

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