Authorities were shocked when they responded to an emergency call and found a 25-year-old alligator taking up residence in a man’s basement.
“I’ve been a police officer 17 years and I’ve never come across an alligator,” Madison Township Patrol Commander Darrel Breneman told US news outlet Fox 28.
Paramedics responded to a call in Ohio and once they arrived and saw the alligator they called police to have them remove the animal, which had been kept in that basement for 25 years.
Cmdr Breneman told Fox 28 the alligator had some water and the reptile had been with its owner, Dusty Rhoades, its entire life.
Mr Rhoades told another outlet 10TV he purchased the alligator, which he affectionately refers to as ‘Ali’ 25 years ago at a flea market.
"I just got him when he was about a foot long. I've had him ever since," Mr Rhoades said.
The alligator is now five-feet long and serves as the family’s pet.
According to police, the Ohio Department of Agriculture was notified and it was confirmed the residents did not have a valid exotic animal licence, which is required to own such a creature in the state of Ohio.
Mr Rhoades voluntarily surrendered Ali to state wildlife officials.
“Our 25-year-old scaly friend is retiring to an animal sanctuary in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” Madison Township Police Department said on Facebook.
“See ya later, alligator.”
Fox 28 reported the alligator was found to have no signs of abuse and was of average health, considering he was kept in captivity for years when the prehistoric predators usually favour swamps and lakes.
“They kind of grow to the size of the enclosure that they're in, so he's not reached his full potential, and I think it's pretty exciting to know that he's going to an alligator sanctuary in a warmer climate where he can reach his full potential and experience that,” Cmdr Breneman told 10TV.
It is not known why paramedics were called to the house in the first place.
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