See You Later Alligator

Missouri fisherman catches 2-foot gator; zookeepers make room for new resident

Field & Stream Online Editors

Springfield, Missouri is a far cry from the swamps and bayous most would associate with gator country, but last Wednesday an angler reeled in one of the reptiles while fishing an area lake.

After the catch, the 2-foot alligator was brought to a local gas station and bait shop where it was kept in an aquarium until it was transported to Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo yesterday, the Springfield News-Leader reported. Zoo officials plan to keep the reptile along with two other alligators already on display.

Dave Illig, the reptile keeper at the zoo, said the gator's owner most likely dumped it into Stockton Lake after it outgrew its aquarium. "They're not cute and cuddly," Illig told the _News-Leader. _"The bigger they get, the more dangerous they can become."

Reports of alligators in lakes around Springfield are few and far between, and those that are spotted rarely survive the winter. Illig said the reptiles won't affect the ecosystem, but they can give fishermen a good scare. "(They can't be good) for the poor fisherman's nerves," he said.