American alligator spotted in school pond captured Friday

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News

Bedford — An American alligator spotted in a pond near a school campus was captured Friday, school officials say. 

" ... Experts at Indian Creek Zoo have finally captured the now-infamous caiman/gator/amphibious mule," said Bedford Public Schools Superintendent Carl Shultz on Friday.

The 3-foot-long alligator was first spotted in a pond near the campus of Bedford junior and senior high schools on Thursday when a junior high science class went out to it to collect frogs, toads and turtles, said Joe Garverick, owner of the Indian Creek Zoo.

Julie Angell, Indian Creek Zoo manager, holds the American alligator captured Friday

The pond, often referred to as the biology pond, is about 400 feet from the schools' baseball and football fields and the track and field stadium.

Garverick said he got the call from the school and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, but was unable to capture the alligator on Thursday.

The following day at about 2:30 p.m. on Friday, he was able to capture the reptile after pumping down the pond, restricting its movement with nets and grabbing it from its behind. 

"It was pretty strong, it was turning pretty good ... you never approach (an alligator) from the front," Garverick said. "So we have it now at the Indian Creek Zoo and it will live out its life with us."

The American alligator spotted near Bedford High School on Thursday was captured on Friday

Garverick said the zoo hadn't yet weighed the alligator or determined its sex, but he said that based on the reptile's length, it is probably about 3 years old.

The alligator will join two female and one male alligators already at the zoo, though due to the new alligator's size, Garverick said it will be kept separately from the others.

Garverick said the alligator would not have survived winter in Michigan: They are native to southern states like Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

Beyond that, he believed it was important to capture it quickly because it was so close to the schools.

"I think the location is why it really needed to be moved. It wasn't going to come out and attack people," Garverick said, "(but) I think it was best for the alligator's sake and the sake of the kids to remove it."

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter