HomeOutdoorsNewsFamily of Alligators Removed From Michigan Home During Eviction

Family of Alligators Removed From Michigan Home During Eviction

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

On Friday (December 16), court officers arrived at a Detroit home to serve an eviction. Upon their arrival, however, they were forced to call for police backup, as the tenant was enraged by the loss of their home. As they waited for the police to arrive, the tenant fled the scene, giving the court officers free entry into the house.

Up to this point, it was far from an abnormal eviction process. For court officers, irate tenants are part of a typical day. When they entered the home, however, they discovered they needed even more backup than they thought. Not for dealing with unexpected tenants but an unexpected family of alligators.

Detroit Animal Care and Control officers soon arrived at the scene and couldn’t believe their eyes. In a plastic kiddie pool inside the home was a full-grown alligator. And in a fish tank nearby, there swam three of its babies.

Now, owning a pet alligator is illegal in Michigan, especially without a license or permit, as it is in the vast majority of states (with the exception of Alabama, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, which play it a little more fast and loose with exotic animal ownership).

That said, it’s unclear whether or not the tenant was aware of this law. “A lot of times, sometimes people can obtain an alligator without knowing the proper laws,” Jovan Stacks, a federally licensed exhibitor and owner of 1 Exotic Zoo, told FOX 2.

Animal Control Officers Safely Relocate Family of Alligators

As a rule, reptiles make more challenging pets than cats, dogs, or guinea pigs. And that’s in the case of a legal cold-blooded pet, such as a snake or a lizard. As you might expect, alligators are even more demanding.

Not only do alligators require a specific diet but they also need adequate space, sunlight, and clean, warm water to be happy and healthy. Not to mention, the average American alligator stretches at least 8 feet in length and weighs hundreds of pounds – and that’s a female gator. Males grow even larger.

So, even with the best intentions, it’s nearly impossible to provide a gator with the proper habitat in a residential area. Despite that fact, however, the alligators in the Detroit home were surprisingly healthy.

“An alligator that’s not fed a proper diet, the entire snout and the mouth will be deformed,” Stacks said. “It looks like whoever had this alligator, they were taking care of it.”

“If you did not have proper filtration – which means the water was not clean enough, the alligator would have sores over its body,” he continued. “So whoever had this alligator was definitely taking care of it.”

Unfortunately, these alligators, especially the adult, can never return to the wild. Hand-feeding from their owner has diminished their fear of humans, making them a threat to anyone who crosses their path in the future. The only options available to Animal Control were euthanasia or sale/transfer.

Luckily for the gators, DACC went with the second option. Officials reported the reptiles are on their way to a licensed animal keeper.