Los Angeles Family Keeps Pet Alligator Secret for Almost 40 Years

Los Angeles authorities discovered a massive eight-foot-long alligator hidden in a Van Nuys home next the carcasses of two house cats. The reptile was seized by Animal Control Officers from the Los Angeles Animal Services Department, KTLA reported.


The alligator, named Jaxon, is believed to be over 40 years old, and has been living with the Mattson family for more than 37 years. Jaxon’s owner, Laura Mattson, told news outlets that the reptile was left to her care after her husband passed away several years ago. He obtained the alligator when it was a baby in the late 70s.

According to a news release from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, officials received a tip about an alligator at the residence. When officers arrived, the occupants refused to allow a search of the property. When officers returned with a warrant, they discovered the alligator in the back yard, concealed in a covered box.

Because the reptile was found with the remains of two house cats, authorities have asked residents to report if they have had any small pets go missing in the last 40 years. The family denies that they fed Jaxson cats, saying that the alligator “was raised with cats” and would snuggle with kittens. Mattson said that Jaxson was only fed chicken meat.

Jaxson has been given a new home at the L.A. Zoo.