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Sewer Alligators are said to be alligators living in the sewers. Those who disagree regard them as urban legends, despite the fact that many alligators have been unearthed. They're sometimes mistaken for pets who were dumped in the sewage after they grew too huge. They have been found in states where alligators are numerous, such as Florida, and have been recorded in New York City, Paris, and other popular cities. The first reports of sewer alligators came from the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Tourists in coastal cities might frequently purchase little newborn alligators. These alligators would be brought back into the city and discarded when they grew too huge, according to popular belief.

The mythological monsters are mentioned in Robert Daley's book "The World Beneath the City," published in 1959. Based on conversations with Teddy May, New York's former Commissioner of Sewers, who recounts his experiences. According to May, sewer inspectors reported alligators in 1935, but were viewed as liars. These reports persisted, and greater newspaper coverage prompted May to pay a visit. "The beam of his own flashlight had spotlighted alligators whose average length was roughly two feet," May stated. Following that, he began baiting the alligators with poison and repeating the process. Flushing the tunnels was a regular practise to force them towards the main pipelines, where hunters were waiting. The alligators were declared extinct in 1937. Sightings reported in 1948 and 1966 were not confirmed.

As you may recall, A. G. Sulzberger's breaking New York Times piece in an era when other news stories reported on out-of-place gators was recognised.

One of the few authenticated tales of Sewer Alligators had a headline like this.

The item "Alligator Found in Uptown Sewer" in The New York Times on Feb. 10, 1935, was the most extensively quoted of them.

That article recounted a group of people, led by a youngster named Salvatore Condoluci, who spotted a seven- to eight-foot-long alligator beneath an open manhole on 123rd Street near the Harlem River and caught and killed it.


Headline of one of the few confirmed accounts of Sewer Alligators

"The World Beneath the City", written by Robert Daley in 1959, is being reexamined on the 50th anniversary of its publication. For this new article, the reporter questioned Daley and others last week. I was one of the persons he spoke with as part of his research for his essay.

A rare revelation that alligators-in-the-sewers were not only legends, but had a solid newspaper history three decades earlier, not from the 1960s as folklorists believed.

The New York Times puts it this way:


Loren Coleman, director and curator of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, who has spent decades researching and writing about the subject, remarked, "These tales had a journalistic grounding." "When Daley's book came out, it was almost like independent confirmation," says the author.


Some versions go so far as to say that because the alligator was abandoned so young, it would spend the rest of its life in a location where it would not be exposed to sunlight, and therefore lose its eyesight.


Artist's rendering

The colour of its skin could be affected as well, in which case the reptile would eventually become entirely albino, with pure white skin and red or pink eyes.


Statue resembling a sewer alligator dragging a baby girl into his lair.

It could also come about the other way round, another reason why an albino alligator would seek refuge in an underground sewer is its sensitivity to the light in the wild; because it lacks dark pigment in its skin, it has no protection from the sun, making it extremely difficult for it to survive.

In Popular Culture[]

  • Sewer Alligators are featured in the popular trading card game MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation.
Sewer Alligator

A Sewer Alligator as depicted in MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation