Just how many alligators and exotic animals live in L.A.?

In Los Angeles, there are 98 current wild animal permits

After two alligators were found this week in the San Fernando Valley, it makes one wonder just how many alligators and exotic animals live in L.A.?

Animal control officers with the Los Angeles Animal Services Department on Monday found an 8-foot alligator that had been living in the backyard of a home in the 13200 block of Sylvan Street in Van Nuys for about 40 years. Jaxson, the female alligator, was discovered inside a crate covered in foliage and debris.

The gator, which was bought 37 years ago in a pet shop, was relocated to the Los Angeles Zoo, where it was quarantined.

Days later, a second alligator was found in North Hills.

The 2 1/2-foot-long American alligator was significantly smaller than Jaxson and appeared to be living in a large aquarium in the 15300 block of Lassen Street, which is an abandoned property. That gator is temporarily being held as evidence at the West Valley Animal Shelter.

How many wild animal permits have been issued in Los Angeles?

Currently, there are 98 wild animal permits issued, according to Cmdr. Mark Salazar of the Animal Services Department. Permit holders must renew them every year. But that’s not the only hurdle. People must also obtain permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

So there are 98 wild animals living in L.A.?

No. Most permits are issued for special events and filming, not as residential pets, Salazar said.

What types of exotic animals can you get permits for?

Permits holders can have anything from squirrels to large cats and bears. 

So how many alligators are in L.A., legally?

The Animal Services department has granted seven permits for multiple alligators, but only one permit holder actually lives in the city, Salazar said. And the alligator is at a wildlife learning center. The remaining six who hold permits for alligators live outside the city, but conduct business in L.A. Combined, the seven permit holders have 36 alligators. 

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