Alligator Spotted In Eastern Oklahoma

Thursday, March 24th 2011, 1:40 pm
By: News On 6

WATTS, Oklahoma --  An alligator is on the loose in Oklahoma. Several people have spotted the creature.

Chris Reese and Jeremy Hutchison were driving down a road in Adair County when something out of the ordinary caught Chris' eye.

"First thing out of my mouth, I was kind of pretty calm was, that's a freakin gator," he said.

What they saw was an alligator. They wouldn't have believed it had they not seen it with their own eyes.

"This part of Oklahoma, no one would believe that there's a wild gator on the loose," Reese said

They've seen the four to five foot alligator one other time since. Others have taken pictures. Each time, the gator is sunning itself along the shore of an oxbow and then disappears in the murky water.

"One of the guys that was with us, he fishes out here quite a bit and I don't think he'll be back,"Reese said.

Oklahoma has a native alligator population, but that's in the far southeastern part of the state in McCurtain County. It's almost unheard of to ever see one in this part of Oklahoma.

That's why state game warden Jared Cramer believes this one was likely released.

"Basically, it wouldn't have survived the winter up here, so more than likely it was somebody's captive pet per se, and it's gotten too big or they've decided they didn't want it anymore," he said.

It's not a good idea. First, even with plenty of turtles and fish, the gator may have poor hunting skills.

And it may be a little too comfortable around people. Although it hasn't been seen there, the Illinois River is just a few hundred of yards away.

Craig Day, News On 6: "That worry you at all?"
Jared Cramer, State Game Warden: "It does. It just brings a lot of fear to the people having that around could just cause a problem in general on this area that gets a lot of public use."

State game wardens are keeping an eye out for the gator and so are locals, who hope to catch another glimpse of the gator or perhaps a few more pictures.

"Yeah pretty good sized," Reese said. "Bigger than I want to mess with."

Because it may be too comfortable around people, anyone who sees it should call state game wardens in the area at 918-431-2546 or 918-431-2539.

Once it is captured, the gator will likely be relocated to an animal sanctuary.