Gator hunt ends for the day in Columbia County

Posted at: 08/23/2013 5:43 PM
Updated at: 08/23/2013 6:14 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

NEW LEBANON -- Every daylight hour, in the last 24, has been spent searching for Kobe, the alligator.  The four year old reptile is three feet long and fifteen pounds.  He should also be wearing a blue collar, lest you mistake him for any other alligators roaming around upstate New York.

"He could be hiding in plain sight, because he's going to look like a log, unless he moves," explains Kobe's owner, Rhonda Leavitt.

And Kobe moves, fast.  He escaped Thursday afternoon from the cage he was temporarily sharing with tortoise.  Leavitt put him in there while cleaning his regular cage and when she looked over, the door was open and Kobe was no where to be seen.

"He's smarter than people think.  That's why I do what I do.  But is he going to come home on his own?  He's not," adds Leavitt, who runs a traveling petting zoo exclusively filled with reptiles.

Troopers, State Wildlife Officials and New Lebanon Animal Control scoured the wooded area around Leavitt's home for Kobe.  The property butts up against the Wyomanock steam.  They didn't find tracks but the muddy bed is their best guess at where Kobe may be seeking refuge.

 "I don't want this to be an alert...a dangerous type of thing...if anything he will run if you get near him," says New Lebanon Animal Control Officer Wes Powell.

Regardless, Powell did ask residents to keep small animals and children inside Friday.  Leavitt wants neighbors to know that Kobe is sweet and tame with, as they say, a face only a mother could love.

"Anyone who's lost a dear pet, I'm sorry," said Leavitt through tears, "He's my baby, he really is."

If you spot Kobe do no attempt to capture him.  Call Officer Powell at 518.339.4008.