Kids' Gator Pal Goes Missing
Florida cops warn against feeding 'alpha predators'
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2010 11:56 AM CDT
American alligators rest in a pond at the Everglades Alligator Farm in the Everglades, Homestead, Fla., Tuesday, April 27, 2010. The farm is home to more than 2,000 alligators of all sizes.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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(Newser) – A 10-foot alligator is on the loose in North Miami Beach, which sounds bad enough—but it turns out local kids have been feeding the beast meat. They named the storm-drain resident Patrick and treated him to hot dogs and ham, which is a seriously bad idea, a police sergeant tells the Miami Herald. "People think it's like feeding the ducks, and you're not," he explains. "You're dealing with an alpha predator."

Patrick had been chilling in the storm drain for a couple of months and was scheduled to be moved to a refuge when he vanished. Now his former neighbors are on alert. "He might see small children on the shoreline and he might associate them with the food source," says the sergeant. "That's not good."