HARBOR CITY (CBS) — Thousands of water snakes have been abandoned in a Harbor City lake, evading wildlife biologists and adding to an ecological mess, it was reported Sunday.
Machado Lake, once famously home to a discarded alligator named Reggie, has become the dumping ground for an estimated 3,000 water snakes, once sold as $10 pets but now banned in California.
The Daily Breeze reports that all types of foreign animals have been dumped at the lake and surrounding Harbor Regional Park, an oasis of green that sits hard between an oil refinery and impoverished neighborhoods in Wilmington.
The water snakes are not poisonous, but can bite.
Rumors of a 12-foot alligator in Machado Lake were also unconfirmed for months, until newspaper photographers snapped shots of Reggie. He was grappled into submission and now resides at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Next year, Machado Lake will be dredged and cleansed as part of a $117 million flood control project that will also improve the Wilmington Drain, which links the lake to San Pedro Bay.
(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)