4-foot alligator found swimming in Lake Michigan

WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Police in northern Illinois were surprised when they were called on reports of an alligator swimming in Lake Michigan.

Police said the caller also sent video evidence of the reptile.

“I went closer to see if it was real,” David Castaneda told the Chicago Tribune after spotting the animal while kayaking around 9:30 a.m. “I was just in shock. I wasn’t sure if it was a real alligator or a toy.”

Sure enough, they found a four-foot American alligator swimming in the lake, according to city officials. There was initial confusion about whether or not it was an alligator or caiman, but lab tests ultimately confirmed it was an alligator, a Waukegan spokesperson told WITI.

Waukegan Police Animal Control and staff at Larsen Marine Service captured the animal and took it to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Illinois.