Alligator found in Lake Michigan with mouth taped shut

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — Police in northern Illinois were surprised Monday when they got reports of an alligator swimming in Lake Michigan.

They were even more surprised to find out reports of a reptile were true.

David Castaneda was fishing for salmon when he spotted the animal around 9:30 a.m. Monday.

“I went closer to see if it was real,” kayaker David Castaneda told the Chicago Tribune. “I was just in shock. I wasn’t sure if it was a real alligator or a toy.”

The 4-year-old caimen is about four feet long, but will grow nearly three times more than that. Staff at Larsen Marine Service said the caiman was found in a harbor with its mouth taped shut.

Police said they were sent video of the animal.

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

Illinois has strict exotic animal laws, so authorities are looking into where the animal came from.