A Texas man has been arrested by wildlife officials for having several endangered and dangerous animals at his home, including alligators and stingrays.
Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife say on friday Officers were contacted by a “relevant citizen” in Montgomery County, north of Houston, in August about a neighbor keeping an alligator in his backyard.
When wildlife officials responded to the home, the homeowner admitted to having the 4- to 5-foot alligator because he wanted to show it to his children. He said he then released it the next day.
But upon further inspection of his home, responders noticed that the homeowner had a room full of fish tanks and noticed several invasive species inside them. Among the animals inside the aquarium are freshwater stingrays and a small alligator turtle that the homeowner caught from a nearby lake.
Under Texas law, homeowners can own an alligator as long as they get a permit from the Parks and Wildlife Service.
However, freshwater stingrays, native to South America, are considered an invasive species, making them illegal to possess. Most snapping turtles, known for their strong jaws and bites, are legal to possess, but alligator-biting turtles are considered endangered. They are illegal to catch in the wild or to own without a permit, as wildlife officials recommend any one caught should be returned to their habitat.
After discussions with responders, the landlord agreed to assist officials in finding safe and permanent habitats for illegal animals.
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The turtle was donated to a local nature center. The stingrays were taken to an aquarium in the Houston area, where possession of the species is allowed. The aquarium plans to use stingrays to teach guests about invasive species and how they can hurt local ecosystems.
The landlord will not face any jail time.
“Due to subject’s cooperation and lack of previous violation history through TPWD, subject was cautioned for his numerous violations,” the ministry said in a statement.
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