No confirmation of Glenview gator so far, but officials keeping a watchful eye

Glenview natural resources employees continue to monitor a village lake on the chance an alligator is lurking within its placid waters, as reported last week by a Mount Prospect man.

Nick Vitogiannes said he was fishing along the shore of Lake Glenview on June 23 when he spotted a creature with a head as big as his forearm. It looked like a gator he saw while visiting Hilton Head, South Carolina, so he reported the sighting to Glenview police.

Glenview communications director Lynn Stiefel said Monday that no additional sightings have been received since Vitogiannes' report last week. Village natural resources interns have been at the lake frequently "on the outlook for whatever might be out there," she said.

"We don't know anything definitive," Stiefel added. "We're not going to rule out it's an alligator. We're not going to rule in it's an alligator. We simply don't have enough information."

Glenview is not yet at the point of needing the services of an alligator hunter, she said.

Nonmotorized boating and fishing - but not swimming - are allowed at the lake, located at The Glen in the center of the 142-acre Gallery Park.

Lake Glenview is known to have snapping turtles, which officials said may have been what Vitogiannes spotted.

Vitogiannes disagrees, however, saying he was just 20 feet from the creature and saw it swimming in a serpentine pattern.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, snapping turtles are eight to 12 inches long and weigh 10 to 35 pounds. They have has an enormous head, thick legs and a long tail that's saw-toothed on the upper side.

The turtles are found across Illinois in any permanent body of water, according to the IDNR. While aquatic, they often are encountered on land and can be "very aggressive out of water and will attempt to bite" while moving from one place to another, the natural resources agency states.

Alligators are found in fresh and brackish water from central Texas east to North Carolina. Louisiana has the nation's largest alligator population, approaching 2 million, according to the state's wildlife and fisheries agency.

Though rare, gators have been found in Chicago-area water.

Most recently, the roughly 40-pound, 5-foot-3-inch "Chance the Snapper" was captured in Chicago's Humboldt Park lagoon by alligator hunter Frank Robb in July 2019. Robb, a Floridian who replaced another gator hunter who could not locate Chance, needed little time to snag the reptile with a hook and reel a week after it was sighted.

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  A man fishes at Lake Glenview on Monday. Glenview natural resources employees continue to monitor the area on the chance an alligator is lurking, as reported by a Mount Prospect man who was fishing there last week. Rick West/
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