L.A. Zoo's famous alligator, Reggie, gets a roommate
L.A.'s favorite renegade alligator, Reggie, has a new roommate.
Cajun Kate, a female alligator, had until recently shared her habitat at the L.A. Zoo with Methuselah, a male alligator who had lived at the zoo for more than 40 years. Methuselah, fittingly, was the zoo's oldest animal resident; he was believed to be about 70 when he died this year.
Methuselah's death left Cajun Kate alone, so it seemed only natural to introduce her to Reggie. According to the zoo, the meeting didn't go entirely smoothly -- but, after all, the two parties involved were alligators. "Though there were a few superficial wounds, the duo has adapted to their newly shared digs near the zoo's entrance," zoo staff noted in a press release.
Reggie, who was apparently kept as an ill-advised pet before being illegally released in Harbor City's Lake Machado, eluded would-be captors for nearly two years before finally being caught in May 2007. He took up residence at the L.A. Zoo after his capture (although he briefly escaped a few months later).
Two San Pedro men, Anthony Brewer and Todd Natow, were arrested in 2005 for dumping Reggie in Lake Machado. Evidence suggests that Brewer was Reggie's original owner, but gave the gator to Natow, a former LAPD officer, when he became too big for Brewer to care for.
A few months later, the two men apparently dumped Reggie in Lake Machado. In late August, they were arrested, and The Times reported that police had "seized a virtual mini-zoo at the homes of both men," which included several smaller alligators, snapping turtles, desert tortoises, piranhas, a rattlesnake and a scorpion. (Also found in both men's homes: marijuana.)
According to the Daily Breeze, Brewer has since paid $100,000 in restitution and served three years of probation. Natow performed community service in lieu of serving jail time and is responsible for a substantial amount of restitution, which, as of last month, was still being calculated.
The zoo officially unveiled the new alligator duo to the public in a ceremony Monday. (Oh, and if you're wondering, Reggie is believed to be about 20 years old. Cajun Kate is around 40.)
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Reggie, right, and Cajun Kate at the zoo on Monday. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press