Alligator stolen as egg returned fully-grown to zoo 20 years later

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An alligator which is believed to have been stolen from a zoo 20 years ago has finally been returned.

Tewa, the 2.5 metre gator, was likely taken while still in an egg, officials say.

A volunteer at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo in Texas was thought to have swiped her.

The gator was found decades later at a nearby home in Austin by the state’s Game Warden on Friday.

It was returned to its ‘rightful owner’ – the zoo – on Monday.

The wardens reminded the public: ‘Alligators don’t make good pets, y’all.’

A zoo employee said: ‘There is evidence the thief was a volunteer here actually at Animal World & Snake Farm decades ago.

‘They apparently stole this alligator, either the egg or the hatchling alligator and put it in their pocket and took off.

‘They actually kept this thing as a pet for at least 20 years now.’

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Tewa was kept in a garden for ‘many years’ – around 50 miles away from the zoo.

But officials realised the homeowner lacked the necessary permits to keep Tewa.

The unidentified owner has since been issued with two citations.

A video of Tewa has been released by the zoo, detailing how she is slowly being introduced to the other alligators.

Keepers added she will spend the rest of her life at the zoo, and has adapted well to her new home.

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