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Naples man arrested for keeping illegal pets in his bedroom

Posted at 11:54 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 23:54:22-04

NAPLES, Fla. -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers say they found an alligator and a number of gopher tortoises being kept as "pets" inside a home in Naples.

Christopher Ethier is accused of illegally keeping three gopher tortoise hatchlings, which are a protected species and a juvenile american alligator as pets in his bedroom.

Fox 4 spoke with an expert at Florida Southwestern State College to find out why it's illegal to take animals like these home.

“Removing any of these animals in large numbers from the wild, could cripple not only their population, but populations of other species,” said Jordan Donini, Professor of Biology, FSW.

He told Fox 4 the holes gators and tortoises dig, help create "critter condos" for other smaller animals!

“Gopher tortoises dig this massive deep burrows, in the wild and they have documented over 300 plus species of other wildlife that depend on gopher tortoise burrows to survive,” said Donini.

FWC safely transported the animals to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. FWC Officer's say if you suspect someone is taking wildlife out of its natural habitat, call on their hotline 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).