Alligators?? In Ohio?? It's true! Over the course of the last few years several, not one or two, but several American Alligators have been found in the Miami Valley of Ohio. So many in fact that they no longer receive attention from the media. They have been found in Greene, Montgomery, and Miami Counties. Most have been pulled from The great and Little Miami Rivers. It began in 2000, when a man on a fall canoe trip pulled a 6 foot Alligator from the cold Autumn waters of the Little Miami River. He took the Alligator home, kept it in his bathtub and alerted authorities who in turn called the Cincinnati Zoo. Much to the dismay of the individual who found the Gator, the Zoo refused to take the creature off his hands. In 2001, there were scattered reports of Alligator sightings in the same River systems, however none were verified, and no captures took place that we know off. In 2002, once again Alligators made headlines in the Miami Valley. 17....that's right 17 American Alligators were caught in or near the Great and Little Miami Rivers. They ranged in size from 1 to 6 feet. In downtown Dayton a 6 foot Alligator was caught basking in the Sun. In Miami County, a motorist got the surprise of their life when a 6 foot Gator walked from a cornfield and was struck by thier vehicle. UPDATE! While this section was created in 2002, Alligators have been continuing to "pop" up in the Miami Valley. So much so that they rarely get attention from the Media anymore. In the Spring of 2011 a 6 foot Alligator was found in the cool waters of The Mad River in Champaign County and has become a "resident" at a local Fish Hatchery.
Along with the return of various wildlife in the Ohio Valley, Rabies has also made a big comeback. In several counties many different types of animals have been found with the disease. Bats and Racoons seem to be the most commonly found animals to carry the disease. But with the population explosion of Coyote in the Ohio Valley, the danger of the disease spreading is a common fear among Wildlife Officers. So when you are out in the woods or even your back yard and you see an animal acting strange, steer clear of it and notify authorities. Always remember that encounters with wildlife are almost always an accident. Most Wild Animals will avoid Humans at all costs, when they don't, it's time for concern. Racoons walking around in your backyard in the middle of the day is a sure sign something is wrong. Never approach an animal in the wild for any reason!