“Alligator” sighting causes a stir at Michigan Community College

MUSKEGON, Michigan – It would be unusual to see an alligator in Michigan waters in any season… but in February?

Still, officials at Muskegon Community College have started to receive reports that an alligator has been sighted in a stream running through the campus, located in the western part of the state near Lake Michigan, reports mlive.com. So Kristina Broughton, the college’s social media coordinator, decided to check it out.

And there he was, floating in the stream, looking very real … but he wasn’t. It turns out it was a plastic alligator head, possibly put in the water by a prankster, reports mlive.com.

Michigan had half a dozen alligator sightings last summer. A 3-foot-long alligator-like reptile, believed to be a caiman, was captured in September in a pond behind a high school in Temperance, Michigan. In Ohio, a 7-foot crocodile was killed in West Alexandria in August after it surprised a group of children swimming in a creek.

Alligators can adapt to very cold conditions. Last year in North Carolina, in particularly cold weather, alligator snouts could be seen emerging from the frozen water. ABC News reports that alligators enter a state similar to hibernation called “brumation,” which lowers their metabolism so they can survive cold temperatures.