New Mexico man kept 7-foot alligator in kiddie pool, officials say

A New Mexico man may be in trouble after authorities said he kept a 7-foot alligator in a kiddie pool.

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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials said they found the 143-pound male reptile in a Santa Fe building. The man keeping the gator did not have a permit to have the reptile, KOB-TV reported. The animal is now swimming at the ABQ BioPark, the television station reported.

"Seeing photos of that animal, you can tell right off the bat that it was kept in improper conditions," said Matt Eschenbrenner, supervisor of reptiles at the zoo, told KOB. "It's a decent-sized animal, but it is obese. There are some bone issues, there are some dentition issues, issues with the teeth, things like that."

Eschenbrenner said the gator had been kept illegally as a pet for 10 years.

"The animal's probably never swam before," Eschenbrenner told KOB. "Seeing him take off, he was a little clumsy, but he got better, you know, relatively soon after that.

"He goes right to the bottom when he sees people. (It's) been pretty traumatic the last couple of days."

Eschenbrenner said he was confident the alligator would adapt well to its new environment.

"The good thing about alligators are they're very resilient, they're very tough," Eschenbrenner told KOB. "I feel in the proper housing, this animal can lead a long and happy life."

The alligator will be put on a diet and likely stay at the park for at least a month, the television station reported.

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