SECAUCUS -- Mayor Michael Gonnelli shared a picture that he said was taken earlier this week of the alligator found in Duck Pond in Secaucus.
A resident who was fishing at the pond a few days ago captured the image on her cell phone, and emailed it to Gonnelli, he said.
He said it is a caiman, a crocodilian species belonging to the same family as the American alligator. Caimans have become more popular as pets through the country, due to their small size. In 2003, NYPD officials seized a five-foot caiman from a Manhattan apartment; the city's health code bans such creatures.
Many caiman owners release them to the wild after the first year or two, once they realize the animals are harder to manage than they thought.
"The state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) has been out there the last two nights," Gonnelli said. "I think they're out again tonight. They're trying to catch it when less people are there. Last Saturday, there was about 40-50 people there, trying to see the gator. The thing was underwater all the time."
The DEP is planning on using traps such as food and equipment such as nets to catch the creature, Gonnelli said. As of early Wednesday afternoon, he confirmed that it has yet to be caught.