Michigan students startled to see 'alligator-type' reptile swimming in pond behind school

Some Michigan students were startled last week to see what looked like an alligator living in a pond behind the school. It took a day to catch the reptile after the pond was drained, school officials said.

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The reptile was identified by animal experts as a 3-foot-long caiman, according to WDIV.

Caimans are not native to Michigan, but they're often kept as pets, wildlife experts told the television station. They share many characteristics with alligators and crocodiles but are often smaller, officials said.

That did not matter to students at Bedford Junior and Senior High School in Temperance, who believed a gator by any other name was just as scary.

The body of water at Bedford Junior and Senior High School is called the Biology Pond and is used by both junior and senior high school classes for academic study, WXMI reported.

A teacher spotted the reptile Thursday and reported it, the television station reported. Joe Garverick, the owner of the Indian Creek Zoo in nearby Lambertville, attempted to catch the alligator with his bare hands Thursday, but the reptile proved to be elusive, WTVG reported.

“It got loose or somebody let it loose — one or the other,” Garverick told the television station.

The reptile was finally caught and will join three alligators at Indian Creek Zoo, Garverick told WXMI.

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