From the Colorado Division of Wildlife
-- After the discovery of a dead alligator in an irrigation ditch near Hotchkiss, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is reminding residents that exotic animals can cause serious environmental damage when brought to an area where they are not native.
It is illegal to import wildlife without a state permit, and it is illegal to release any non-native species into the Colorado environment. That includes even small animals such as non-native frogs, any type of fish, snakes, birds or mammals.
"Animals from different parts of the country or the world can carry diseases that could devastate native wildlife species," said Doug Homan, a district wildlife manager in Hotchkiss. "An invasive species also could be a predator that Colorado wildlife cannot defend against."
The 4-foot-long dead alligator was found by a ditch rider July 14 about four miles northeast of Hotchkiss next to the North Fork Lateral irrigation canal. Homan believes the animal was released by someone when it was alive.
"An alligator is not suited to Colorado's climate and cold water. This was a very irresponsible action. An alligator is a predator and could have eaten other animals, pets or even attacked a person," Homan said.
To dispose of an exotic species, call your local county's animal control office, a veterinarian or contact a Department of Wildlife office. Anyone with information about the alligator is asked to contact Homan at (970)275-4276 or Kirk Madariaga at (970)527-4419