Stolen Texas Alligator Returned to Deva Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo


An alligator stolen 20 years ago has been found as a pet in a Texas neighborhood, and authorities have returned it to the same zoo that took her.

The female reptile, named Tewa, is believed to have been taken from the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels, Tex., as a hatchling or even an egg. Dewa was kept as a pet in a state where crocodiles are protected Texas law. In Texas it is a crime for people to take, sell, buy or possess an alligator without a permit.

“Alligators do not make good pets,” the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement. Instagram post Friday showed officers trying to load the eight-foot-long reptile into a truck.

A zoo spokesperson said In a video On Facebook, the department called for “an alligator that someone has had in their possession for over 20 years now.” The man was then “a volunteer at the Animal World and Snake Farm” and “apparently stole this crocodile,” the spokesman said.

Officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife found Teva in a woman’s backyard about 50 miles from the zoo where she was taken, a zoo spokeswoman said. When the alligator was found, officials said the woman, who was not immediately identified, could not meet the requirements to obtain a permit to keep the reptile, so they set to work finding Deva a new home.

“We were their first phone call,” a zoo employee said in the video, which showed officials loading the reptiles into a truck. “You’re fine, Gator,” a warden can be heard reassuring Deva.

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A video He shared Facebook posts over the weekend showed Texas game wardens and staff from the zoo transporting the alligator, gagged and webbed feet outstretched, to the facility where he left it two decades ago. Crowds lined up at the zoo to watch the alligator return to the zoo.

The deva was then videotaped walking slowly into the water, where she was placed with other reptiles.

On Facebook, Texas game wardens thanked staff at Animal World and Snake Farm for helping with the alligator’s relocation. “With our combined knowledge and experience, the transition was seamless,” an official said.

According to a zoo spokesperson, Deva is so far “happy” in her new habitat, where staff hope she will “live out the rest of her life.”

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