Skip to main content

Say what? Alligator spotted in central Minnesota

So, this was kind of unusual.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Crow Wing County Sheriff deputies couldn't believe their ears when they received a phone call from someone biking in Barrows Township last week.

"A biker had found what he thought was an alligator," Lt. Joe Meyer told BringMeTheNews on Wednesday. It was the first time Meyer had received a call about an alligator sighting in his 28 years at the department.

Deputies responded on scene and sure enough, there was a "three-foot alligator sunning itself on the asphalt bike path," Meyer said.

The county is not sure where the alligator came from, although Meyer believes that the alligator could have been someone's pet at one time since there are many people with exotic pets in the area.

"You can certainly get permits and licenses for exotic pets here," he said. He knows of residents with pet snakes, emus and ostriches.

"Exotic animals are not uncommon pets, and it's not uncommon for them to find themselves released to Minnesota's wild," said the Duluth News Tribune.

Sometimes alligators are purchased with the intention of being household pets and are later released because they end up becoming too big.

Deputies could not figure out who the alligator belonged to, but found a home for it at the Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Wondering what it would be like to have a pet alligator? Click here to read the Pioneer Press's profile on this Woodbury couple's alligator.

Alligators in MN

It is not against the law to own an alligator in Minnesota, as long as the owner can prove it was legally purchased and not just plucked from the wild, Lori Naumann, non game wildlife information officer with the Department of a Natural Resources, told SunThisWeek. But city ordinances usually do now allow wild animals to be kept as pets, which overrides state law, said the article.

However, it's not natural for alligators to live this far north.

The blog Rainforest Adventures says that while alligators live on the Mississippi River, they’re unlikely to venture north of about Memphis.

"It's not uncommon for us to find alligators in ponds, but they usually starve," Capt. Greg Salo, the DNR's central region enforcement manager, told the Star Tribune. "They would never survive the winter here. This isn't the Florida Everglades."

According to this news release, the DNR recently spotted a Cayman alligator in Minnesota waters. Also known as the Caiman alligator, the reptile is native to Central and South America and can grow up to 16 feet long.

This isn't the first time officials have been surprised or puzzled over an alligator sightings:

Next Up

Baby owl

The Raptor Center says downward trend holding for avian influenza

A "baby shower" fundraising campaign hopes to help return young raptors to the wild.

Prince

Commemorative street name for Prince approved in Minneapolis

The block next to the First Avenue nightclub will be named Prince Rogers Nelson Way.

storm, radar, severe weather

Monitoring severe storm threat Saturday-Tuesday in Minnesota

The holiday weekend won't be a washout, but multiple rounds of strong and severe storms are possible.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 4.45.15 PM

Charges: St. Cloud meth dealer had numerous weapons. body armor

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 38, faces 12 felony-level charges.

3100 Bloomington Ave.

South Minneapolis tenants declare rent strike; allege unsafe conditions

A group of Powderhorn Park residents say they'll withhold May rent due to health and safety concerns.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 3.11.26 PM

Threats involving 2 students at West St. Paul middle school

Police said there is no reason to be concerned for the safety of the rest of the student body at Heritage E-Stem Magnet Middle School.

North Shore Mayor Chris Swanson.

Controversial Two Harbors mayor told: Resign or face recall election

The mayor has come under scrutiny for unusual behavior this year.

Lakeville Minnesota Solar Installation - All Energy Solar

Tips for selecting a reputable solar installer

Installing solar panels is a major investment. The solar solution provider you choose should be stable and trustworthy.

3M Maplewood

3M fined $2.8M for hazardous waste violations in Cottage Grove

The company's violations spanned more than two decades.

Christopher Payne and Kaley Wethern

Couple charged after $75k worth of fentanyl pills seized during traffic stop

Christopher James Payne and Kaley Maria Wethern have been charged in the seizure.

Related

Bald eagles are flying back up to Minnesota – earlier than normal

Bald eagles that left for the winter are on their way back.

Bald eagles are flying back up to Minnesota – earlier than normal

Bald eagles that left for the winter are on their way back.

The Eagle Cam couple might be getting ready for some baby eaglets

Will these lovebirds lay their eggs early again? Or wait until a more typical time period?

The Eagle Cam couple might be getting ready for some baby eaglets

Will these lovebirds lay their eggs early again? Or wait until a more typical time period?