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Two reptiles taken from Central Islip home, officials say

DEC Officer Jeff Hull and Suffolk SPCA Chief

DEC Officer Jeff Hull and Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross hold a 3.5-foot alligator that authorities seized, along with a 5.5-foot rattlesnake from a home in Central Islip. Credit: SCSPCA

A 5 1/2-foot rattlesnake and a 3 1/2-foot alligator were removed from a Central Islip home Tuesday, officials said.

The rattlesnake was "extremely dangerous" and kept striking at its container as the officers sought to secure it, said chief Ray Gross of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The alligator, also fierce, was a few years old and still growing, Gross said.

Gross said the reptiles were seized by the SPCA and state Department of Environmental Conservation after officials received a tip. He warned that venomous snakes and alligators are far too dangerous to be considered pets.

In March, a 2-foot rattlesnake, also kept illegally in a home, bit its handler on the eyelid; the venom can cause permanent injuries.

But they don't just imperil their owners and handlers, "they endanger the families, and public, if they are released," Gross said.

New York bars the possession of some reptiles, a category that includes rattlesnakes, alligators and caiman, without a permit, and a first offense can result in a $250 fine, Gross said.

The reptiles seized Tuesday are being sent to an out-of-state sanctuary.


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