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Pet alligator’s taste of freedom cut short by hit-and-run driver, Michigan cops say

What not to do when you spot an alligator

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina State Parks and the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Herpetology Program have the following tips on how to avoid an alligator attack (and maybe even some jail time).
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The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina State Parks and the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Herpetology Program have the following tips on how to avoid an alligator attack (and maybe even some jail time).

A woman driving to work in central Michigan on Thursday called police to report something unbelievable on the side of the road: a dead alligator.

Eaton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jerri Nesbitt said the 5-foot-long alligator was struck by an unknown vehicle around 12:30 a.m. in Delta Township after the reptile escaped from its owner’s home just outside of Lansing, the Lansing State Journal reports.

“To my knowledge, whomever hit it didn’t call it in (to police),” Nesbitt said, according to the newspaper.

The animal was 21 years old and named Wally, WLNS reports.

Wally’s dead body was found in front of Town and Country Auto Repair, WILX reports. The family that owns the alligator had been caring for him since 1998, according to the TV station. A wild alligator can live about 50 years, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Scott Nigoff, who shared photos of the alligator with the State Journal, wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday morning that he “saw a frickin dead GATOR on the side of the road.”

“I apologize for the graphic nature of the photos,” Nigoff wrote, adding that he saw the animal as he was headed in for work. “Probably not a big deal to those in the south but i live in Michigan!”

The photos posted by Nigoff show what appears to be bloody animal insides on the grass next to the alligator. Nigoff’s Facebook post has been shared thousands of times.

“It’s just sad that the family lost a pet they’ve had a long time,” Nesbitt said, according to MLive.

Owning pet alligators is legal in the state because the reptiles aren’t native to Michigan, whereas native animals such as raccoons require permits for those who want to keep them as pets, WLNS reports. However, the State Journal reported that it “is not legal to own an alligator in Delta Township, according to township ordinances.”

Nesbitt said that authorities haven’t heard reports of drivers or pedestrians being injured around the time of the alligator collision, according to the State Journal.

Animal control collected Wally’s body in the afternoon, MLive reports.

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