do alligators live beneath us?

As kids we would always see Sewer Alligators in shows, but we never thought to ask, are there really Sewer Alligators? Do they really roam the New York Sewers? It supposedly all started when New York families bought alligators from Florida but once they got tired of the pets or noticed how much work they are, down the toilet they went. Sewer Alligators is a topic I choose since it was always something that was normalized as kids and as you get older you just forget about it, so today I will be bringing it back, and showing you why it is a myth and why people might believe it is true.
The New York sewers are piled with pollution and trash, alligators would not be able to survive. For example “NRDC” states, “A 50 percent chance that sewage pollution made it unsafe to touch the water somewhere in New York City. In fact, every year, around 20 billion gallons of untreated raw sewage and polluted runoff bypass the city’s sewage treatment plants” shows just how unsafe the sewage water is to people so imagine how unsafe it is for alligators, and alligators would not be able to live off of eating trash. Additionally, “Freshwater” states, “tiny doses of chemicals that can cause alligators to die before they hatch or to hatch with significant birth defects,” which demonstrates the fact that alligators wouldn’t be able to reproduce either so maybe if there was one, it would only be that one alligator which will not last very long. Alligators would not be able to survive in the polluted sewers.
Alligators can not live in freezing cold temperatures meaning that in New York Sewers they would barely be able to live upto a year or less. For instance, “WeatherSpark”, states, “The cold season lasts for 3.3 months, from December 3 to March 12, with an average daily high temperature below 48°F. The coldest month of the year in New York City is January, with an average low of 29°F and high of 40°F.” meaning that alligators wouldn’t be able to survive the winter if they barely reach a high average of 48. The phrase, from, “Cajun Encounters”, states, “alligators can even survive in water temperature as low as 40-degrees Fahrenheit. However, they don’t care for it.” illuminating the fact that alligators can not survive during New York’s cold ruthless winters, so not only would they not survive but it is rare for alligators to be in this type of weather.
People might believe that alligators really do roam the sewers of New York, since they were told stories without a lot of context and were led to believe them. As an example, Snopes wrote, “ NYT will publish just about anything that has to do with alligators in or around New York. As well, World Beneath The City doesn’t give a date for the supposed occurrence; all it says is Teddy May first heard gator reports in 1935. The date of his visit to the sewers or the extermination of the alligators is not provided.”, which shines a light on how people will just read the title and assume it means an alligator has been found in the sewer which leads them to believe they are really out there. Imagine all the fake news out there, anyone can be led to believe it.
In conclusion, we have been taught to think alligators are really living in our sewers, but the truth is alligators wouldn’t be able to survive. Perhaps it would be a good thing if alligators roamed the sewers. There would be less rats since it would be the only thing alligators could feast on. On the contrary, it could be the worst thing ever, and more deaths would occur a year. What do you think, would it be a negative or positive thing?

Kimberly Robles

Fenwick High School – DMSF Class of 2026

Image by Denis Doukhan from Pixabay