Though the gator hasn't been caught, two men have been. They have been accused of conspiring to release the gator there.
A tip from the public led to the arrests of 36-year-old Anthony Brewer and 42-year-old Todd Natow during raids at separate homes in the San Pedro area, ending speculation about how the creature wound up in Machado Lake in Harbor City.
The gator was last seen Sunday night.
Professional alligator wranglers from Colorado and Florida have been brought in to try to find and capture the critter, which is believed to be an alligator mississippiensis, 125 to 150 pounds, about 6 feet long, and 6 to 15 years old.
The Florida team is from Gatorland, a 110-acre, Orlando-area alligator theme park and wildlife preserve.
Tim Williams, who heads the Gatorland team, told The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Thursday he has no idea why anyone would dump a full-grown gator in a lake.
"The good Lord put 'em in our lakes in Florida," Williams says, "but I don't know why somebody would want to turn it loose. Probably got too big for the bathtub. That's the best guess we can come up with."
Williams says it's a lot different catching an alligator in the wild than at Gatorland.
"At Gatorland," Williams says, "... we grab them, jump on them and have our way with them. We do shows with them, and teach people about them. Out here, it's a whole lot different. … Once we can find him then we can try to lure him in with some calls or bait, where we get a noose pole on him and catch him, put some tape on him and take him over to the zoo, so he can rest and relax and catch up on all his sleep from being chased around by all these fellahs."
Williams says the gator might simply be scared of people.
"The parks and recreation folks here in L.A. … had volunteers out last week who were trying to make an effort to capture the animal," he says. "They had no success. … Now, we think the animal is spooked. They were throwing tortillas and jelly doughnuts at him. Now we're throwing ropes and nets and all kinds of things. I think he's just scared and he's hiding."
Williams says they try to put as little stress on the animal as possible.
"We handle thousands of gators at Gatorland," he says. "We do shows with 'em. We catch gators from little hatchlings all the way up to 12-, 13-foot giant gators. We're very good at what we do. We just have to find the animal and, if we can get to him, it's down to the point now where we're debating on who's gonna jump on him."