3-foot long creature seen in Illinois yard — and animal control officers are befuddled

A 3-foot long reptile was captured in Illinois, but now animal control officers have more questions than answers.

The Macon County Animal Control & Care Center said in a Facebook post the creature was spotted in a person’s yard Wednesday, May 24, in Decatur.

The reptile — which animal control officers could not definitively say is an alligator — was captured and will be temporarily held for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“Due to the size of it, they were able to use the carriers they had and bring it back to the shelter,” animal control administrator Sgt. Ron Atkins told the Herald & Review. “If it had been a larger critter, it would have been a different story.”

Whether it’s an alligator or a caiman, animal control officers said the animal is not native to its area. American alligators can be found from North Carolina to Texas, but Illinois is an unlikely area for their discovery.

Animal control officers said it’s unclear how the reptile got to the area. The animal did not appear to be injured.

“It’s a cute swamp puppy” one Facebook commenter joked.

“What’s the adoption fee. He’s so cute,” another said.

Decatur is about 40 miles east of Springfield.