Caiman found swimming in Lake Michigan

WAUKEGAN, Ill. – Police in northern Illinois were surprised when they were called on reports of an alligator swimming in Lake Michigan.

Police said the caller also sent video evidence of the reptile.

“I went closer to see if it was real,” David Castaneda told the Chicago Tribune after spotting the animal while kayaking around 9:30 a.m. “I was just in shock. I wasn’t sure if it was a real alligator or a toy.”

What they found was actually a four-foot caiman, which is similar to an alligator and in the same family, swimming in the lake, according to city officials. A Facebook post from Waukegan officials initially identified the predator as an alligator.

Waukegan Police Animal Control and staff at Larsen Marine Service captured the animal and took it to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Illinois.