Croc Pot: Brandywine Zoo Hosts American Alligator Found During Drug Bust

This alligator picked up in a PA drug bust will now be shown to kids at the Brandywine Zoo. Barbara Billela/Chester County District Attorney’s Office

Last week’s drug bust by local law enforcement authorities resulted in a reptilian revelation and the Brandywine Zoo will be hosting a new tenant as a result. 

The February 8 raid of a Coatesville, Pennsylvania home led cops to a two-foot-long juvenile American alligator living in the kitchen of the home. The Zoo has agreed to be its new home until it can be safely moved to warmer climes.  The zoo said it had accepted the gator at the request of Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan, and it will become an educational animal for zoo visitors during the summer. The alligator will ultimately be moved to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park, a Florida facility that regularly loans the Brandywine Zoo alligators for its summer exhibit.

“We will provide care for the alligator and ensure it is healthy during its stay with the zoo,” said Brandywine Zoo Director Brint Spencer. The zoo, managed by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation, “is glad we could be of assistance to Chester County law enforcement in placing the alligator in a healthy environment,” he said.

Zoo representatives say this gator could grow to 10 feet long as an adult.


The alligator was discovered as police executed a search warrant at a home in Coatesville, and seized heroin, crack cocaine, suspected fentanyl, cash, and drug packaging materials. Police also found the alligator living in the kitchen of the residence (naturally). Three defendants in the case have been charged with drug trafficking and related offenses and remanded to Chester County Prison.

Hogan said he appreciated the zoo’s responsiveness in quickly agreeing to care for the alligator.  “The zoo and Director Spencer were immediately available to help us deal with the safe handling of the alligator. DNREC’s help provided us with both short-term and long-term placement of the alligator, making sure that it will be treated humanely.”

The Brandywine Zoo is temporarily closed through the end of February while construction and improvement projects are made to the zoo’s Wilmington campus. The zoo’s education building will remain open to host upcoming programs.

The zoo said the construction projects include the conversion of the zoo’s otter exhibit into a new small animal contact area and improvements to the honeybees and beehive educational display and to the Andean condor exhibit. The improvement projects also include installation of new zoo signage, and renovation of the exhibit for the zoo’s South American capybaras – better known as the world’s largest living rodents.

It is assumed the capybaras will not be housed in close proximity to the new gator.

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