A crocodilian species reptile has been observed and photographed in a pond off Van Wagner’s Beach Road in Confederation Park, Hamilton. A local birder, Tom Badeau, discovered the reptile when he was taking pictures of birds along the shoreline of the pond. He took pictures of the animal and sent them to the Hamilton Conservation Authority on Monday.
HCA staff contacted the Canadian Wildlife Service because the stranded reptile might be a rare or threatened crocodilian species. As a result, HCA staff has contacted reptile rescue expert Bry Loyst, from the Indian River Reptile Zoo. HCA staff members met Monday afternoon at the pond with Loyst and Badeau. The animal was spotted shortly afterwards, but exact species identification has not been determined.
HCA is concerned about the well-being of the abandoned reptile as well as the safety of the Hamilton community. It is important that the reptile is rescued from the pond as quickly and as safely as possible.
The reptile is likely a pet that has been abandoned at the pond. The species requires a specific temperature range to survive. The water in the pond is too cold for the reptile, which means that it is not feeding at this time. It also means it will be less mobile than normal to conserve energy and heat. As a result, the expert and staff ecologists believe it is unlikely the animal poses any danger to the public, if left undisturbed.
HCA staff will be working with Loyst and his employees to retrieve the animal from the pond and transport it to the Indian River Reptile Zoo, a research and education centre that provides sanctuary, breeding facilities and detailed study of reptile species.
HCA reminds the public that abandoning pets in conservation areas or parks poses not only a risk to the pet, but also to members of the public and the ecology of the natural area. If you would like to surrender a pet, please contact Animal Control or other appropriate agencies.