Alligator found in Lake Michigan recovering at Lake Forest wildlife center

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- An alligator is on the mend in the northern suburbs after a kayaker found the 4-foot-long reptile swimming in Lake Michigan near Waukegan.

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A four-foot alligator was found swimming in Lake Michigan Monday morning in north suburban Waukegan, city officials said.

David Castaneda was kayaking and fishing in the lake Monday when he spotted the gator about four feet from his kayak. The animal had blue tape around its snout, he said.

"It was just so weird, something out of the ordinary," he said. "It's not supposed to be here, so it's not - it can't defend itself and it had its mouth closed, so it was going to die if I left it there."

Not wanting to wait for Waukegan Animal Control, Castaneda did what any resourceful angler would do: He caught it.

"So I just changed my lure to one that was more of a bigger hook and threw it over its back and it hooked on to the little scales that were on its back. And I started pulling it slowly towards me so it wouldn't freak out," he said.

The gator was taken to the Lake Forest Wildlife Discovery Center, where workers are nursing her back to health. Staff are keeping her in warm water and making sure she stays hydrated and well-fed with whole fish and crocodile chow.

The center took blood tests Monday night, but are still awaiting the results to determine if she requires further medical attention.

How the alligator ended up in the lake is still a mystery.
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