LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — On a Sunday afternoon, John Fitzwater with Triple J Reptiles and Rescue got an unexpected call from an old friend.
“[He] said he was down along (Route) 441 in the Red Hill Dam entrance where he goes fishing and he noticed a blue bin," Fitzwater said. "He decided to walk over to it and use a stick to open it up and low and behold, there was a 3-foot alligator alive in the bin."
Fitzwater's friend drove the alligator from the dam entrance in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County to the rescue in West Donegal Township, Lancaster County.
Once Fitzwater retrieved the alligator, he immediately put it in a temporary enclosure.
But still, at this time the animal's condition is not good, according to Fitzwater.
“He is very skinny and malnourished," he said.
Fitzwater believes the alligator was dumped due to its size.
“Three-foot is normally the size I see more often than any that people dump them, just because they don’t know what to do," said Fitzwater.
He reported the alligator's rescue to the Susquehanna Regional Police Department and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
“They want me to keep this bin, and they’re going to send someone by, send their forensic team. They’re actually going to try to pull fingerprints off of it, and see if we can catch the person," said Fitzwater.
He says he’s grateful someone found him before it was too late.
“If he would’ve stayed outside for another day or two, he would’ve frozen to death," said Fitzwater.
Despite the alligator’s weak condition, Fitzwater remains optimistic that it will survive. “He still has a lot of fight left in him so, I’m hopeful that he can pull through."