Alligator named 'Fluffy' caught in Urbana pond

Local fish farm will house 2 1/2-foot reptile, which was most likely dumped by its owner.


URBANA — Freshwater Farms in Urbana provides a home for rainbow trout, rare sturgeon, snapping turtles and numerous other breeds of fish and reptiles, but their new pet may make some of the current guests a little nervous.

The farm is the new home to Fluffy, a 30-inch alligator that was discovered Sunday evening in a pond near a home in the 1700 block of Ohio 29 West.

With the help of wildlife officers, Champaign sheriff’s deputies used a noose to capture the animal after local residents reported seeing it wandering in the area. “It was actually in the pond,” Sheriff Brent Emmons said. “Nobody knows how it got there.”

Once it was captured, Emmons said, deputies put the animal in the back of a cruiser and drove it to Freshwater Farms, a local aquaculture farm that has a license to care for reptiles.

Dave Smith, owner of Freshwater Farms of Ohio Inc., said the business was celebrating its annual Ohio Fish and Shrimp Festival when deputies arrived, carrying the alligator, its jaws bound in duct tape. The three-day festival focuses on farmed seafood.

Many of the guests at the festival quickly crowded around.

“We got lots of looks, including one from my wife,” Smith said.

One of Smith’s employees had always joked about buying an alligator for the farm and naming it Fluffy, so the name stuck immediately.

On Monday, Sept. 20, Fluffy was being kept in a large blue bin with enough space to swim and rest in the sun. But as the weather turns cooler, Smith said Fluffy will be moved to a warmer location inside one of the barns on the farm.

“We know we can take care of him and make sure he has plenty of things he can eat,” Smith said.

Emmons said deputies have been called out to trap snakes and other wildlife before, but this appears to be their first time trapping an alligator.

So far, deputies have no information about who owned the animal, but they believe it was a pet that someone dropped off when it grew too large. “At this point there is absolutely no information to us to indicate how it might have gotten there,” Emmons said.

Meanwhile, Clark County officials are still searching for an African serval cat, which resembles a cheetah and is about 3 feet long. The animal escaped from its owner’s home in July.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Female Democrat pulls out of House race amid sexual misconduct accusations
Female Democrat pulls out of House race amid sexual misconduct accusations

Andrea Ramsey, a Kansas Democrat running for a House seat in 2018, has dropped out of the race amid sexual misconduct accusations, according to the Kansas City Star. The retired businesswoman — who was considered one of the Democratic Party’s brightest political prospects — was hoping to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder...
Ex-wife of NBA star Lorenzen Wright arrested in connection to his murder
Ex-wife of NBA star Lorenzen Wright arrested in connection to his murder

The ex-wife of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was arrested and jailed in California on Friday night.  Sherra Wright-Robinson was arrested in her Riverside, California, home Friday. Jail records show she was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside at 9:28 p.m. PT. No charges are listed. Deborah Marion, Wright's mother...
Grandmother, granddaughter graduate together from college
Grandmother, granddaughter graduate together from college

For the first time in its 150-year history, Chicago State University awarded diplomas to a grandmother and granddaughter during the same ceremony, WLS reported. Belinda Berry, 62, and Karea Berry, 25, both walked across the stage at the Jones Convocation Center on Thursday to accept their diplomas.  Grandma graduated at the top of her class...
Report: Toronto billionaire, wife found dead at their home
Report: Toronto billionaire, wife found dead at their home

Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman and his wife were found dead in their mansion Friday afternoon, CTV reported Saturday. The Toronto Police Service is investigating the deaths as "suspicious." During a news conference Friday, Constable David Hopkinson would not identify the two bodies. Hopkinson said police, fire units...
Taco Bell to add self-serve ordering kiosks
Taco Bell to add self-serve ordering kiosks

Taco Bell is ready to give its customers more access in 2018. The fast-food chain will be increasing its digital presence and will add self-serve ordering kiosks, The Orange County Register reported. Taco Bell, which operates more than 6,700 restaurants, said it has reached an agreement with its franchisees to fund new services that provide customers...
More Stories