SCHENECTADY — Onlookers are agog over a possible alligator sighting in the pond at Steinmetz Park.
A group of residents peered into the murky waters on Monday afternoon.
“We’re hoping to get a glimpse,” said Melissa Payne.
Goose Hill Neighborhood Association President Camille Sasinowksi said she was notified by several tipsters over the weekend about a possible sighting.
She herself initially noticed a dark-colored object in the water and dismissed it as a branch.
After it moved, she thought maybe it was a turtle.
But then another neighbor identified it as a five-foot alligator, Sasinowksi said.
Mayor Gary McCarthy reviewed photos captured by an eagle-eye viewer.
“It might be a crocodile,” he said.
Cops, reporters and passersby stood in the rain on Monday afternoon as motorists crept up Hendrickson Avenue and asked for updates.
Harrison Caruso pointed at what he thought were drag marks across the pond as evidence of a possible entry point.
“There’s no way it can organically get this big here,” he said. “There’s not enough fish. It was definitely let out of someone’s house.”
A search by state Environmental Conservation Police Officers failed to track down an alligator, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
But officers did observe a 16-inch snapping turtle just below the surface, “which could have been mistaken as an alligator swimming.”
A second canvass of the pond’s edge revealed no tracks along the shoreline, the agency said.
Out-of-place animals are not entirely unheard of in Schenectady.
A 32-inch alligator gar evaded hundreds of fisherman for weeks in 2016 before being captured.
The hunt prompted a $100 reward from the mayor and even a Twitter account, @TheAlligatorGar.
City police have set up a portable camera pole overlooking the pond for future continuous observation, and residents are asked to call the DEC’s Law Enforcement Dispatch Center at 1-844-DEC-ECOs (1-844-332-3267) to report any additional sightings.
Payne said she’s been learning more about alligators and crocodiles since word trickled out Monday morning.
“I guess they come up for air every 25 to 30 minutes,” Payne said. “So we’re going to keep looking to see if we see an alligator breathing.”