Small alligator found swimming in Lake Michigan

October 9, 2018

Small alligator found swimming in Lake Michigan

WAUKEGAN, Illinois — This is not something you expect to see while kayaking on the Great Lakes.

But a kayaker in Illinois stumbled upon a 4-foot alligator Monday morning. He tells the Chicago Tribune he initially thought it was a dead salmon until he saw the gator poke its head out of the water.

“I was just in shock,” David Castaneda says. “I wasn’t sure if it was a real alligator or a toy.”

Some early reports said the creature was a caiman, which is similar to an American alligator, but city officials said tests later confirmed it was actually an American alligator.

“These creatures are not indigenous. You can imagine the skepticism that came with it,” David Motley, the city’s director of public relations, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Animal control officials successfully rescued the alligator and took it to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill.

Reports say it’s unclear how the alligator ended up in the lake but an official with the wildlife center tells the Tribune it likely would have died within the next few weeks.

“Lake Michigan is only getting colder and colder each week,” the official says.

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