12 times wild animals ended up in places they shouldn't be

Alan Diaz/AP PhotoAn alligator (not pictured) was recently spotted in Chicago.
  • Sometimes, animals end up in places where they’re not supposed to be.
  • An alligator was spotted in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon on Tuesday.
  • A mountain lion once tried to enter a casino in Reno, Nevada.
  • A kangaroo was seen hopping across a bridge in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

An alligator was recently spotted cruising down Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon, and it’s not the first time a wild animal has turned up far away from its natural habitat.

Here are 12 times animals were found places where they didn’t belong.


An alligator was spotted in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Lagoon and was later apprehended.

reisegraf.ch/ShutterstockAn alligator in the Everglades, where it belongs.

An alligator estimated to be four or five feet long was spotted inHumboldt Park Lagoon last week, according to the Chicago Tribune. Animal control set out traps to capture the alligator. A local volunteer known as “Alligator Bob,” who has helped officials catch wayward animals before, also searched for it among lily pads in his canoe.

A resident of Humbolt Park told the Tribune that people often dump animals that they no longer want to take care of into the lagoon, so it’s possible that the alligator was illegally owned by someone who released it there.

The alligator, dubbed “Chance the Snapper,” was apprehended on Tuesday.

Read more: A 4-foot-long alligator is on the loose in a popular Chicago park and police have been unable to catch him


Little blue penguins kept returning to a sushi shop in Wellington, New Zealand.

ShutterstockA little blue penguin.

RNZ News reported that little blue penguins repeatedly wandered into Sushi Bi, a sushi shop near Wellington railway station in New Zealand, on Monday. They had apparently found a favourite spot by the warmth of the kitchen’s grill.

Jack Mace, operations manager at the Department of Conservation, told RNZ that the penguins were likely scouting out places to lay eggs.


An alligator climbed up to the second floor of an apartment complex in Naples, Florida.

Rob Carr/Getty ImagesAn alligator was found in an apartment complex.

While alligators are native to Florida, they’re not native to apartment buildings. A 5-foot-long alligator made its way up to the second floor of an apartment complex in Naples on Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported. It likely came from the lake behind the building.

Professional alligator trapper Ray Simonsen nabbed the rogue animal and told the Herald that it would find a new home on a farm.


A polar bear ended up lost in the suburbs of Siberia, Russia, over 300 miles from home.

Nagel Photography/ShutterstockA polar bear.

CNN reported that a polar bear wandered into the Siberian suburb of Norilsk in June, around 310 miles away from the coast where the species normally lives.

How did it end up there? One possibility is that polar bears have to travel farther to find food due to melting ice caused by climate change.


A mountain lion was seen roaming in Des Moines, Iowa.

Liz Miller/ShutterstockA mountain lion.

A mountain lion was seen roaming near downtown Des Moines, Iowa, in May, according to AP News. It’s not the first mountain lion spotted there, either – police shot a mountain lion in northern Des Moines in 2012.


A kangaroo reportedly hopped across a bridge in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

aztekphoto/ShutterstockNot usually a sign that’s necessary in Wisconsin.

In June, police in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, responded to a caller who said there was a kangaroo hopping across a bridge on Interstate 41. Officers said they were “unable to locate any marsupials,” according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.

Another earlier kangaroo sighting didn’t end well. In November 2018, a kangaroo was hit and killed by a car in Waukechon, Wisconsin, after it jumped over its owner’s fence.


A mountain lion tried to enter a casino in Reno, Nevada.

Ondrej Chvatal/ShutterstockA mountain lion bares its teeth.

When a 75-pound-lion tried to enterHarrah’s Hotel Casino’s revolving door in Reno, Nevada, in 2012, police closed down the surrounding streets until it was tranquilized and apprehended, KOLO 8 News reported.


A black bear was removed from a tree along the New Jersey Turnpike.

Gerald Herbert/AP ImagesA black bear.

NJ.com reported that when a black bear climbed a tree along the New Jersey Turnpike in 2011, it had to be removed by firefighters and wildlife officials because it began to draw a crowd in a high-traffic area. The nearly 300-pound bear took two hours to extricate from the tree and was released into the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area.


An elephant was found wandering in Westtown, New York, about 70 miles from New York City.

New York state troopers found an elephant walking around Westtown, New York, a town about 70 miles away from New York City, in November 2018. Fox News reported that the animal had escaped from a wildlife sanctuary and was returned by the state troopers.


After eluding wildlife officials for three years, a monkey was finally caught in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Szymon Mucha/ShutterstockA rhesus macaque monkey.

A rhesus macaque monkey managed to elude Florida authorities for three years before it was finally caught in St. Petersburg in 2012. Wildlife trapper Vernon Yates told CBS News that it was “one of the most intelligent monkeys that I think I have ever seen.”


A flamingo that escaped a Wichita, Kansas, zoo was spotted eight years later living in the Gulf of Mexico 670 miles away.

The Chicago Tribune reported that eight years after an African flamingo escaped a zoo in Wichita, Kansas, it was seen 670 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. It had also found a companion.

The flamingo was still wearing a leg band from the Wichita zoo, but the zoo’s bird curator told the Tribune that he’s happy that the bird is thriving in the wild and has no intention of returning it to captivity.


Rusty the red panda escaped from the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC.

AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonA red panda cub.

Rusty the red panda had only been in the Smithsonian National Zoo for a few weeks when he went missing in 2013, according to The Washington Post. He was found later that afternoon in the Adams Morgan neighbourhood of Washington, DC, when someone spotted him and tweeted a photo.

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