Los Angeles is truly wild: there are sharks in the Venice canals and alligators in the Valley, one of which is nearly 40 years old, eight feet long, and might have been responsible for a number of missing pets in the neighborhood over the decades. (Another smaller alligator turned up in North Hills shortly after authorities found the first guy.) There are actually at least 98 wild animals legally authorized to be in Los Angeles, a rep for Los Angeles's Animal Services Department, which issues wild animal permits, tells the LA Times.
These two gators didn't have permits, but there are a total of six that do. Only one actually resides in Los Angeles, at a wildlife education center, the rest just have owners who have wild-animal-related business in the city, like working on films or special events. Most of the permits are for working animals, not animals that are living as pets. The permits need to be renewed every year, and animals also need to have separate permits from the US Department of Agriculture plus the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in order to legally keep their wild animals, which can be anything from "squirrels to large cats and bears." As for the unpermitted animals crawling around, possibly eating your pets? Totally unknown.
· Just how many alligators and exotic animals live in L.A.? [LAT]