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Macomb Co. Animal Control investigates gator sightings in Clinton River

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Does Macomb County have a gator agitator or a croc in a loch?

Macomb County Animal Control is investigating reports a critter that may be an alligator or a crocodile has been spotted in the Clinton River in Harrison Township, officials said Tuesday.

8-foot alligator

"We have been getting calls and messages on our Facebook page about it," said Animal Control Chief Jeff Randazzo. "We've been asking people who see it to let us know."

He said investigators with the department were out looking for the reptile Monday and will be again Tuesday.

He also said as of yet no one has submitted any photograph proof of such an animal in the river.

Randazzo said it's unlikely there's an alligator or crocodile in the river because Michigan's weather is simply too cold to enable the animals to survive. "They're usually found in very warm climates and they're cold-blooded," he said.

And if there was a gator or croc in the Macomb County, the animal control chief said, it would be fairly visible because it would sun itself to keep warm. It also wouldn't survive long.

"They would have to bask in the sun," Randazzo said. "Their body temperatures have to be raised to a certain level for them even to digest their food."

However, that doesn't mean someone didn't recently dump the critter in the river, he said.

"That's a very strong possibility," he said. "This is why we shouldn't allow the sale, either online or in-person, of exotic animals like crocodiles or alligators."

He also said it's another reason why people shouldn't dump unwanted animals or fish into local waterways. "Imagine what would happen if someone dumped in a species that could survive, like Asian carp?"

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez