SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – Alligators are known to be native to the Southeast and Gulf Coast areas of the United States — which is why officials are questioning how one ended up on a beach in Wisconsin this week.
On Monday, officials with the South Milwaukee Police Department took a report of an alligator on Lake Michigan Beach in the city’s Grant Park. With the help of the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC), an officer with the department was able to locate and take the animal into custody safely.
The alligator is now in the care of MADACC, according to police.
Chief William Jessup of the South Milwaukee Police Department told Nexstar on Wednesday that officials have not yet determined how the 2-foot alligator ended up on the Lake Michigan beach, but he said he was grateful to the citizen who reported the sighting.
“It appeared healthy and was turned over to our county animal control center for proper care and placement,” Chief Jessup said. “Obviously, an alligator in the Wisconsin climate would not have survived very long so we are thankful for the call.”
A representative for MADACC was not available to comment on where the alligator might be re-homed.
As strange as Monday’s find might be, it’s far from the first time an alligator was found in a part of the country where it wouldn’t normally be. The United States Geological Survey keeps records of every alligator recovered outside of the animal’s indigenous range, with some found as far away as Montana, Oregon or Massachusetts.
In almost all of those cases, the alligators were thought to be pets who were released into the area by a former owner.
Still, it’s been quite a year for Wisconsin’s lakeshore when it concerns rare wildlife. Just two months ago in September, five flamingos showed up at a Port Washington beach. And in August, an ultra-rare Roseate Spoonbill was spotted in Green Bay for the first time in 178 years.