Curry County Sheriff's officers and Oregon State Game Division police seized a 3-year-old American alligator Wednesday from the home of Mark Thomas Rogers, 34, at 98410 North Bank Chetco River Road near Brookings.

The alligator is about 2.5 feet long and was living in a series of dog cages attached to a small pond. There were no signs of animal abuse.

Attempts to reach Rogers Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Possession of such an alligator is illegal, as it is considered a protected species in Oregon. Officers were acting on a tip regarding the alligator. No citation was issued. Rogers could not be reached for comment.

"It's a very, very expensive permit," said Sheriff John Bishop. "I don't believe he knew it was illegal, so I don't know if there will be criminal charges."

Officers seized the alligator and plan to take it to an animal rehabilitation center. Eventually, it will be relocated to Florida and released.

Until 2009, Oregonians could apply for and be granted a permit for alligators. They were delisted 2011, with the exception of people who already had the animals. Most exotic animals owned in Oregon are felines, followed my non-human primates.

American alligators consume fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Bishop said he believed the reptile might have frozen and died if it had escaped.

They were listed as endangered by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Conservation efforts have allowed their numbers to increase and the species was removed from the list in 1987.

Such alligators can live 30 to 50 years. Adult male American alligators can grow to be 11 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds; females can grow up to 8.5 feet and weigh 200 pounds.

They're naturally found in the Southeastern United States, from Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina, south to Everglades National Park in Florida and west to the southern tip of Texas.