Pet alligator escapes, spooks Kansas neighborhood before walking home

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BASEHOR, Kan. — Heavy rains are likely to drive all sorts of critters to seek higher ground in Kansas and Missouri, but most people wouldn't expect to see an alligator.

That’s exactly what residents in Basehor, Kan., spotted Monday night when someone’s pet gator escaped from a neighbor’s property. The reptile gave several people a scare before heading home on its own.

"I honestly started laughing," said Natalie Cowan, 20, who spotted the alligator near 163rd Street and Donahoo Road as she drove home Monday. "I was like, 'This has to be a joke. It's not real.'"

Cowan said she initially thought she spotted a raccoon.

"I continued to go forward and I see two more eyes," Cowan said. "So I was like, 'It’s probably a family of raccoons.' Then I get closer, and I see a crocodile! Or an alligator! I see an alligator!"

For more than 15 minutes, Cowan said, the alligator stood motionless in the middle of the road, blocking her path. After law enforcement officers spooked it, Cowan said, the gator charged toward her for a few anxious moments, freaking her out.

Sheriff’s deputies didn't quite know what to do.

"The officer actually drew his gun," Cowan said. "He was like, 'If this thing starts running at me again, I'll have to put it down.'"

Video shows the more than 4-foot-long alligator lunging at a law enforcement officer after he dared to get close. Cowan said a deputy did draw his handgun, but did not have to shoot.

The gator eventually went home on its own.

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