Alligator found near Chapin, officials say

tflach@thestate.comOctober 11, 2013 

— A small alligator is on the loose after being found in a sewage pump station near Chapin, town officials say.

It escaped from a nearby pond Thursday while town utility workers consulted with experts about what to do after capturing it, Mayor Stan Shealy said.

The discovery is no cause for alarm, he said.

Photographs taken suggest the small creature is a caiman, a tropical variety unlikely to survive the winter, he said.

Where it came from and how it got into the equipment at the station at Wessinger Road and Old Lexington Highway that serves neighborhoods on the north shore of Lake Murray is a mystery, Shealy said.

“We don’t have a clue,” he said.

The normal habitat of the species is in Central and South America.

State natural resources officials found nothing after recently checking a report of an alligator sighting in the lake, agency spokesman Brett Witt said. He didn’t know if it is the same one.

Shealy regards the discovery near the Lexington County town as a fluke.

“I don’t think the lake is full of these things,” he said.

But its brief appearance is memorable for the workers who corraled it.

One was bitten and is receiving antibiotics as a safeguard, Shealy said.

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