IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Alligator found, rescued in Lake Michigan

“I wasn’t sure if it was a real alligator or a toy," the kayaker who found the reptile said.

Authorities in Illinois rescued a four-foot alligator from Lake Michigan on Monday, officials said.

“It is not every day someone reports an alligator in Lake Michigan and the report is true,” the city of Waukegan said in a Facebook post.

Image: Lake Michigan Alligator
A kayaker found the alligator near the banks of Lake Michigan off Waukegan, Illinois, roughly an hour north of Chicago.Courtesy City of Waukegan

Waukegan is roughly an hour north Chicago, on the banks of Lake Michigan near the Wisconsin state line.

A kayaker who initially believed the reptile was a dead salmon called 911 after seeing an alligator head in the water, the Lake County News-Sun reported.

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

The post said animal control officials and workers from a local yacht broker and storage business rescued the animal, which was taken to a wildlife center in the nearby city of Lake Forest.

It wasn’t clear how the alligator wound up in the lake, but a photo posted to the city’s Facebook page showed what appeared to be tape wrapped around its mouth.

An official with the wildlife center told the News-Sun the animal was “definitely on borrowed time."

“I would say it would be lucky if it lived another couple weeks,” the official said, according to the paper. “Lake Michigan is only getting colder and colder each week.”