Gator captured in Indian Creek
Indiana Conservation Officer Jim Schreck needed clarification on a service call from Harrison County Dispatch last Thursday. The dispatcher said that an alligator had been captured in Indian Creek near Rocky Hollow Road.
‘I thought they were joking,’ Schreck said.
There was no joke: A 3-foot-long alligator was indeed captured in Indian Creek. Brittany Harmon of Elizabeth spotted it and her husband, Cody, caught it.
‘Brittany was going to go fishing, and she saw it floating in a little pool of water next to the creek,’ Cody said. ‘She called me and told me about it. I know she wouldn’t lie to me, but still, when you hear that there’s an alligator in Indiana, you aren’t going to believe it.
‘I got off work, and she took me down there,’ he said, ‘and, sure enough, it was sitting in that pool of water.’
Cody used a dip net to flip the gator to shore, then he hopped on the gator and held its mouth shut as the animal thrashed and made ‘a gurgling, hissing sound.’
‘It felt like a big catfish moving around,’ Cody said. ‘I don’t know why I caught it. I really wanted to catch it, though.’
He took the gator to a group of nearby fishermen, who helped place the animal inside a large cooler, then he called police.
Schreck said he took the gator to O’Bannon Woods State Park, where Naturalist Jarrett Manek eventually placed the reptile in an aquarium where it will be kept until a proper home can be found for it.
‘When I dropped it off, Jarrett wasn’t there yet, so I put the gator in the bathroom and put a sign on the door that there was an alligator inside. I flipped off the top of the cooler and ran like hell,’ Schreck said. ‘I can’t emphasize enough what a valuable resource Jarrett is and has been for us as conservation officers. His knowledge of animals and ability in handling them is second to none.’
Schreck said he believes what happened is that someone had the gator as a pet and it became too large and probably too dangerous to keep.
‘It’s illegal to possess and/or release exotic animals without proper permits. Whoever kept this gator was within the law to do so because it wasn’t four feet in length. At that point, they would have had to have had a permit to keep it,’ Schreck said. ‘If they were going to release the gator into the wild, they should have called us first. There’s no way it would have survived the winter.’