An unusual discovery was made in Newark's Weequahic Park Tuesday. The body of a 4-foot dead alligator was found by a male jogger, according to the Essex County Sheriff's Office.

The deceased animal was found by the jogger at about 7 a.m. The man contacted the Essex County Sheriff’s Command Post, who send officers to the park to investigate.

“It appears that the reptile may have been someone’s pet and was dumped near the park’s lake,” Sheriff Armando Fontoura said in a press release. “We have never had a similar experience or a report of a gator sighting in any of our county park’s waterways. Maybe the owner believed Weequahic Lake’s waters had some magical healing power.”

The alligator’s remains were turned over to the Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey on Evergreen Street.

In July, an American Alligator was pulled from the Passaic River in Elmwood Park. Since alligators are not native to this region because of the cold weather. Alligator sightings are rare in the Garden State and owning one as a pet is illegal in New Jersey.

Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor at NJ 101.5. Reach her at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.