TWRA: Reptile found in East Tennessee backyard is an alligator

MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Florida fans may have arrived in Monroe County a little early. Monroe County deputies got a call Tuesday evening about an alligator in the backyard of a Madisonville home. 

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers were called in and captured the five-foot-long gator, according to TWRA Officer Joe Pike. Photos of the reptile were sent to wildlife experts in Nashville, who identified it as an alligator.

The gator is on its way to the Chattanooga Zoo, where a health assessment will be performed. It will then be moved to a gator facility in South Carolina, where it will live out the rest of its days.

The TWRA says alligators are classified as Class 1 wildlife -- they are dangerous and the public should not have them.

Pike says the gator was likely an illegal animal that was held in captivity until someone released it.

Deputies say if you find an alligator or any other wild animal in your yard, do what this homeowner did by going to a safe place and calling 911.

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