Man shoots and kills escaped alligator in rural Michigan

Alligator File

An American alligator sits in a canal at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 27, 2019. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

DAYTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A man fatally shot an escaped alligator after he says the reptile lunged at him at his rural Michigan property.

Derrick Fells says he was collecting minnows Saturday in Tuscola County’s Dayton Township when he heard a “hissing” sound and the alligator tried to attack. Fells told WEYI-TV he apparently startled the reptile, and it “turned on me.” He says he shot it with a pistol and called 911.

The sheriff’s office says the reptile was 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) long.

The alligator was shot about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Detroit. Investigators determined that the alligator escaped from a fenced enclosure at a nearby property where an exotic animal rescue was operating. Two other alligators are there, along with snakes, tortoises, turtles and emus.

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