LA’s legendary Reggie the alligator a bachelor no more

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Reggie the Alligator’s lonely days are finally over.

The Los Angeles Zoo announced Wednesday that after moving Tina, a female American alligator, into Reggie’s bachelor pad in August, the two are getting along.

They didn’t see eye-to-eye initially, the zoo said. But now they are happily sharing the same habitat after recently awaking from brumation, a hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals utilize during very cold weather.

“This is really the best case scenario when introducing two alligators who are used to living alone,” Ian Recchio, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Los Angeles Zoo,” said in a statement. “It was a labor intensive process helping these two alligators grow comfortable with each other, and it required a lot of patience from the animal keepers as they kept a close eye on the pair. But, Reggie and Tina have come a long way since August, and we can already see how positively guests are responding to the fact that Reggie now has a roommate.”

Zoo officials said they can tell they are getting along because “they can be seen swimming, floating, and sunning themselves on the rocks together.”

Reggie became a media sensation in 2005, after he was first spotted in Lake Machado in Harbor City. He’d been abandoned in the 53-acre lake by a prior owner who’d been illegally keeping him as a pet.

His fame grew as he eluded capture. Local media outlets kept a “Reggie Watch.” T-shirts with his image were printed, and a website was devoted to him. Even “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin vowed to catch Reggie — before he was killed by a stingray in 2006.

Reggie was finally captured on May 24, 2007, and given a home at the zoo. He managed to escape from his pen just three months later but made it only as far as a loading dock before he was caught again.

Tina is Reggie’s second attempt at companionship.

In 2010, an alligator known as Cajun Kate was introduced to Reggie, who had never before had a roommate — male or female. But the two didn’t take to one another and Cajun Kate later was moved St. Augustine’s Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida.

But Tina may be the one. She came to the L.A. Zoo last August after spending 18 years as a resident of the Pasadena Humane Society, Zoo officials said. And she and Reggie seem to be sharing each other’s space, even getting close.

She came to Pasadena in 1998 as part of a traveling wildlife education program. At 7-feet-long, Tina outgrew her habitat at the humane society, and a decision was made she would move to the L.A. Zoo and attempt to live with Reggie, zoo officials said.

The pair aren’t meant to breed, but guests can continue to learn about the reptiles.

“The L.A. Zoo has almost always had male and female pairs of alligators on display since it opened 50 years ago, and now we are lucky to have a pair on exhibit again,” Recchio said. “There is a significant difference in size between males and females, and our visitors might get lucky and witness some of the amazing behaviors these crocodilians display as a pair.”


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