METAIRIE - We now have a good idea where a large alligator was living before it popped out of a Metairie drainage cover in the 1600 block of Carrollton Avenue Monday afternoon.
The 7-foot gator looked very familiar to families living on Hesper Avenue, next to the Bonnabel Canal.
"It's the same one, I think, because we don't see them that often, but I saw this alligator almost every day," neighbor Ronnie Coste said.
Coste first spotted the gator in the canal a few weeks ago. The canal is about 15 blocks from where the alligator surfaced.
"I think he just swam down the canal, crawled in one of the drainage pipes and couldn't turn around," Coste said.
Alligators have also been spotted from time to time in the West Esplanade Canal. Clint Hotard from the Jefferson Parish Drainage Department said this isn't the first time an alligator has popped out of drainage pipe.
"Probably made the trek over the levee by the airport and made its way into Canal 17 and once you get in the canal system, if you can swim, you can get pretty much anywhere on the east bank," Hotard said.
Jefferson Parish has about 340 miles of canals and drainage pipes.
"We have a lot of nutria, ducks, turtles, snails, there's a lot of stuff that survives in the canal system," Hotard said. "The occasional alligator is not that surprising."
Back on Hesper, neighbor Larry Gutelius said living next to the canal is like living next to a wildlife refuge.
"It's nice to see the wildlife, as long as they don't come up the canal walls, get the dogs and the cats, they're fun," Gutelius said.
The wayward alligator was expected to be relocated to a more remote area along Bayou Segnette on the Westbank.