Do Alligators Really Live in the Sewers of New York City?

No matter which part of the world you live in, you have probably heard some local folklore and tall tales. From the monster in Loch Ness to the sasquatch in the northwestern United States, there are certain legends that seem to last for generations, with or without any conclusive proof. If you ever visit New York City, you might hear tales about alligators let loose in the sewers. Urban legend holds that there have been several cases of people releasing or losing their pet alligators in the sewer, where they have supposedly grown to be over 10 feet long with a weight of over 800 pounds.

You might be wondering where these stories came from, or even if there is any basis for such a tale. You might be surprised to know that stories of the so-called “sewergator” have been swimming around for decades, and they have come from a number of interesting sources.

The origins of the sewergator

As far as most urban mythologists can tell, the story of alligators lurking in the sewers began circulating as the tale of a boy who got a baby alligator as a birthday present and then flushed it down the toilet. The story continues that the boy reached into a sewer grate a few years later to retrieve a wayward baseball and had his arm eaten by his former pet. From this origin story, the legend of the sewergator spread and became ingrained in the urban mythology of New York City. Many people envision colonies of alligators lurking beneath city streets and wading through dark sewers. The story has featured prominently in movies and TV, as well.

One of the real-life claims that seems to have contributed to the circulation of the sewergator myth was that of a man in the late 1950s who claimed to have had firsthand experience with New York’s alligator-infested sewers. The man asserted that he had been a sewer commissioner during the 1930s, at which time, he said, the city had launched a campaign to rid the sewers of alligators.

Although this story was compelling to those who wished to believe in the myth of the sewergator, the source was later debunked and found to be quite fond of telling tall tales. The fact of the matter is that the sewers in New York City are simply not a suitable habitat for an alligator.

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At Gullett Sanitation Services Inc., we might not be experienced in wrangling wild alligators, but we are septic and dewatering experts. You almost certainly won’t need help getting a swamp creature removed from your septic system anytime soon, but you will need help keeping your system maintained and properly cared for. We offer exceptional septic service in Bethel, OH, with services ranging from sludge disposal to jet aeration of sewers and everything in between. We have been in business since 1942, and we continue to deliver outstanding service to our clients. Our licensed and certified professionals are here to help you with all of your septic and sewer needs—just give us a call today!

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