Near the Bass Ponds within the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge, nature lovers are used to seeing all sorts of animals, a two-and-a-half foot alligator is not one of them.
"Nobody is really equipped to handle an alligator in Minnesota that we could get a hold of. So, they brought it to us," said wildlife biologist Vicki Sherry.
Sherry fully admits that even after 17 years with the Wildlife Refuge, she's not even sure if this is an alligator or a crocodile. The age, sex and amount of time the large lizard has spent in the refuge are all unknown -- but she does know that gators can't survive cold temperatures and don't belong in Bloomington.
"We do have people -- maybe not this exotic -- who bring in their unwanted pets," said Sherry. "It's not a good idea to bring anything like that to a refuge."
The gator was found on Wednesday around noon when Charlie, a greyhound and Labrador mix, came upon it while walking with his owner.
Stan Hejl told FOX 9 over the phone, "This baby alligator was sitting there -- and my dog wanted to go in, and I had to tell him not to. What kind of idiot would drop an alligator off in a pond like this?"
According to Animal Control Officer Jacob Young, the alligator wasn't too thrilled about the company.
"He had snipped at a guy and his dog that walked by," Young said.
Young responded to the call and caught the gator with his first attempt using what's known as a control pull.
"It's used for K-9, and -- in this case -- it worked for the alligator," he said.
The only people who were not fazed by the find at all were a few fishermen who happen to be from Florida.
"We saw the little one that Animal Control caught, but there is a big one back there too," said David Melrose.
Sherry plans to be on the look out for other possible released reptiles. For now, she's placed the alligator at the visitor center, in a trash can, with a little water and heavy weight on top -- just in case it tries to escape overnight.
"This is about as good as we could do, not being prepared to house an alligator," said Sherry.
On Thursday morning, a local herpetological society will take the gator and get it ready for adoption.
"As much as my daughter has wanted a pet alligator," says Sherry. "I'm not taking this alligator home."
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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