Summer in Chicago, when tempers flare right along with the temperature. The humidity is so thick you can barely walk through it, you’re sunburned from watching the Cubs lose from the bleachers, and your Jeni’s ice cream cone melts as soon as your sandals hit the pavement.
But this summer Chicagoans have been a little friendlier, a little cooler-headed, a little cheerier. And we can likely trace all this happy benevolence to the invasion of a new species: the Humboldt Park alligator, which the city dubbed Chance The Snapper. After a few chance sightings of the ’gator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon, Chicagoans were on watch, waiting to see if/how Chance would eventually be captured. The city found a new local hero in Alligator Bob, the Chicago Herpetological Society member who attempted to catch Chance with traps in the lagoon before calling in the big guns. This week, a Florida animal control expert named Frank Robb was able to finish the job, and got to throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game for his efforts.
Once the gator was captured, Chicagoans discovered that Chance The Snapper was small, adorable, and looked rather jaunty in a bow tie. And some of us looked forward to Chance’s possible local new home at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, or Brookfield Zoo, where we could visit his adorableness for ourselves. But Block Club Chicago, the local news organization that has owned this story from the beginning, now reports that Chance “will depart the city as early as Thursday, according to Animal Control. He’s headed to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida, which is actually a part of his species’ native range, unlike Chicago.”
Oh. Well, that actually sounds kind of nice. And we doubt that Chance would love our Chicago polar-vortex winters. But still: Godspeed, Chance The Snapper! You will be taking a lot of the joy out of this Chicago summer with you when you go. Be sure to remember the parting words of your namesake, Chance The Rapper, who spoke of his reptile friend on Fallon. “Keep your head up, they got you locked down, they can have your body but they can’t have your mind.”