ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Chance the Snapper, the elusive alligator that surfaced in Chicago a week ago, might still be on the loose if it weren’t for Frank Robb.
Chance became famous after avoiding capture in the Windy City for several days. Then Robb, a professional trapper for two decades, managed to bag the gator within 48 hours of his arrival.
So it’s fitting then that Chance, like Robb, now calls Florida home.
“It’s a five-star resort for crocodilians,” Robb said of Chance’s new digs. “There’s no better place in the world than the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. He could not have come to a better place.”
The gator arrived at the zoological park Thursday after being flown in from Chicago. Since then, he’s gotten a physical and had a chance to get acquainted with his new accommodations.
Still a mystery is how the gator-turned-celebrity, which measures nearly five feet long, wound up in the lagoon at Chicago’s Humboldt Park. Once there, he seemingly wanted to keep a low profile.
The gator might have succeeded, but Robb and his trusty fishing pole had other ideas. “It was probably a 25- or 30-foot cast. And thank God, it was one cast," he recalled.
Robb suspects someone was keeping the gator and then it got loose or was freed on purpose. The gator wouldn't have survived on his own and there was no room for him at any facilities there.
It wasn’t just a life-changing experience for the gator. Robb’s successful capture netted him recognition from the city’s mayor, plus he threw out the first pitch at the Cubs game.
“Chicago changed my life in five days,” he said.