A rumor that spread like wildfire online had thousands of area residents wondering whether alligators escaped from Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois.
It started with a Facebook post, claiming an alligator was spotted near the Rock River. Then, the story appeared to take on a life of its own.
There were posts from people claiming two alligators escaped from the zoo. There were posts from people claiming to have witnessed the gators being found in the Rock River.
One post of the photo had nearly 2,900 shares after it was posted on Facebook Sunday, June 9, 2013 by a man from Moline, Illinois. His comment on his own post alleged “This is one of the two that came up missing from Niabi Zoo a few weeks ago. The other also a female ( 10 ft), Is still missing according to the DNR.”
Niabi Zoo answered back with a Facebook post of their own, saying, “Don’t trust everything you see on Facebook (except this)! Our two alligators are much smaller than the photo that was posted, and they are both right where they belong. Also, an alligator of that size wouldn’t have made if for long this far north in the wild. Also, if you notice in the photo that was posted, it’s nowhere near a river despite the claim it had just emerged from the river.”