So what’s with all these ‘gator sightings in Michigan? Are they wild and breeding in our swamps, rivers, creeks, and lakes?

Hopefully not, but some people who have baby alligators for pets have let them loose when they’ve had enough of taking care of them.

BAD IDEA.

Sometimes gators have escaped from homes, sanctuaries or other wild animal compounds. Either way, you don’t wanna come across one unexpectedly if you’re fishing, swimming, or wading.

This summer has seen an unusual amount of gator contact with Michiganders.

JUNE 27:
JACKSON COUNTY
An alligator was discovered in a Hanover Township backyard, knotted and twisted in fishing nets.

JUNE 27:
EATON COUNTY
An alligator (named Wally, after the cartoon character) was hit and killed by a vehicle in Delta Township.

JULY 9:
MACOMB COUNTY
Two baby alligators were found – pets most likely let loose by the owners -  and were taken to Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary, 160 miles west in Athens, Michigan.

JULY 13:
KENT COUNTY
Animal Control cornered and confiscated a four-foot long alligator in a duplex. It was concluded the owner moved out and left his pet behind.

JULY 14:
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY
Another 4-foot long alligator was captured. It had escaped from its cage in the home of its owner on Hamblin Street in Owosso.

JULY 15:
SHIAWASSEE COUNTY
Same gator, same owner, same address, same circumstance as the above. This time the owner said he would find a sanctuary to take it.

JULY 18:
OAKLAND COUNTY
A twenty-year-old alligator got clean away from his owner’s home. It was captured by two citizens with a rope and taken back to its home in Milford Township.

JULY 20:
TUSCOLA COUNTY
A man was down in an area near Shay Lake catching minnows for bait when a 4-5-foot-long gator hissed and lunged at him. The man pulled his gun, shot, and killed it.

So what’s the deal?

Michiganders are not allowed to keep certain “exotic” animals as pets, such as bears, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, lions, panthers, and tigers. But the statutes say nothing about alligators or crocodiles. Reptile owners are not required to have any special permit or license to keep a deadly reptile as a pet.

So, until reptile owners obtain safer, escape-free areas, and others realize you can’t just set them free when you tire of ‘em…..keep your eyes open around water.