Tenkiller creature discovered

Monday, August 12th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

When you're swimming at the lake, ever wonder what's swimming with you? A strange discovery at Lake Tenkiller near Tahlequah.

News on Six reporter Steve Berg says Brandi Donatelli thought her boys were crying wolf. Or in this case alligator. But when they told her they'd seen an alligator near the lake, she thought she'd better check it out. Well, as it turns out, they found this guy. He's not an alligator, but a close relative called a "caiman".

They're native to Central and South America and they can also be found sometimes in South Florida. This one's about three feet long, but they can get as big as seven feet. Brandi says at first all she saw were its track. Then as she was looking around, something else was looking at her. “All of a sudden, we see an eyeball and it's blinking and I think okay, let's just stay calm and we'll take care of this.”

They tossed a fishing net over the Caiman. And Brandi used a rope to tie around his snout. Her friends are now calling her Crocodile Brandi. Actually, biologists aren't sure if he is a "he”. When asked if it or any offspring could live through the winter here.

We were told that they quote "probably shouldn't" be able to survive here. Something to think about the next time you're swimming.