WATCH: The story behind the ‘alligator’ that made waves in Parker last weekend

It’s no crock: Alligator sightings on the Colorado River in Parker, AZ prompted calls to the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department from fearful boaters last weekend. But a snappy response by the department on Tuesday made it clear that the gator was a toy.

Parker Live met with the owner of the faux reptile north of Parker late on Tuesday. The man didn’t expect the weekend outing to cause so many waves, but says it’s not the first time the RC-controlled predator has been for for a swim on the Parker Strip.

“I’ve been running this thing around here on the river for a while,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “Usually once people see it’s a toy they just laugh and they’ll even try to get pictures with it. In person, people laugh, it’s only on the internet people who didn’t even see it have problems with it.”

Oh, snap! It’s true, some online comments objected to the toy being out on the water:

“Only someone that can afford such a toy would feel this is entertainment at the cost of someone else sanity or life.”

“Then ppl should of been notified that was a remote control toy. Could of given someone a heart attack.”

“Not funny! I’m terrified of them.”

But a majority of the comments were from people who said they could see the funny side, some of whom mocked those who disagreed with it and told them they should lighten up.

“Everybody down near [Headgate] Dam this weekend was laughing,” the croc’s handler said.

The man himself thinks it’s “hilarious” and says it’s all part of the tradition of fun on the river that he’s had with friends and family over the years.

Anyway, don’t worry: the closest place where real wild gators live is the Rio Grande in Texas, two and a half states away. The Parker Strip is croc-free, with just this one foam-based exception.


  1. Jill Swanson

    Told you Sherry… ????????

  2. Very funny story. Thanks ParkerLive for getting to the bottom of this. This is truly Pulitzer Prize worthy reporting! Keep up the great work!

  3. Elizabeth Arnold

    Josh Savino must be so upset that he wasn’t home for this one. Maybe he’s met his match with the anonymous gator owner?

  4. Alan Nelson

    There have (supposedly) been sightings of Caiman (fresh water alligators) in the Bill Williams River and, in the ’40s, there was an alligator farm between Blythe and Parker, on the River. The farm was destroyed by a flood and not all of its residents were recovered. Could some descendants still be lurking in the coves and backwaters around Blythe, Ehrenberg, Palo Verde, and Cibola? In Utah, NPS Rangers confirmed that a mated pair of gators were found in Lake Powell a few years ago. An alligator wrangler captured a 7-foot long female alligator, a 6-foot long male alligator and six juvenile alligators ranging in size from eight to 11 inches in Rock Creek Canyon on Powell. And finally, in 2010, an alligator escaped from a traveling Shrine Circus at the Avi on the Mohave Reservation and hung out in the River between the Avi and Topock for a few weeks.

    So don’t be so sure that there wouldn’t be an alligator or croc in the River. Stranger things, like skeletons playing poker, have been found here.

  5. A remote control shark would be funny too!

  6. Todd Honomichl

    Way to go Joe.
    Scaring everybody

  7. Saw it in the keys.. Was funny

  8. Just to clarify…the “Alligators Found at Lake Powell” story was in fact an April Fool’s joke originally published back in 2011. Readers understandably were misled if they did not read to the very end of the article.

  9. Dennis, thank you for clarifying Alan’s post, as I was about to.

    We go to Lake Powell every year and I’m still catching hell for sharing that April Fool’s Day story.

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