Alligator rescued from Lake Michigan

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) – An alligator is getting a second chance at life – in Illinois.

A kayaker spotted the four-foot gator, its mouth bound, in Lake Michigan and knew it didn’t belong there, so he lent it a hand.

Swaddling the American alligator like a baby, wildlife expert Rob Carmichael likes what he hears as the wayward gator hisses.

“We’re going to know his real personality probably tomorrow because he’ll be in optimal heat, warm water and a normal alligator climate.”

Where the alligator was found is obviously not alligator climate, something kayaker David Castaneda knew.

“It was just so weird. So it’s like something out of the ordinary,” he said, describing the moment he saw the young alligator in Lake Michigan.

“It’s not supposed to be here, so it’s not- it can’t defend itself and it had its mouth closed, so it was going to die if I just left it there.”

Not wanting to wait for Animal Control, he did what any resourceful angler would do: He caught it.

“So I just changed my lure to one that was more of a bigger hook and threw it over its back and it hooked on to the little scales that it has on its back. And I started pulling it slowly towards me so it wouldn’t freak out.”

The gator was safely captured and has a second chance at life. He’ll make his home at the Wildlife Discovery Center, where there are some other alligators to keep him company.

Experts say he wouldn’t have survived more than a few weeks in Lake Michigan with winter coming.

It isn’t known how he got there.