Authorities don't know who dumped a four-foot-long reptile in Lake Michigan, but they now know what kind it is.
After initially believing the animal spotted Monday swimming near Waukegan by a startled kayaker was a caiman, officials now say it is actually an alligator.
“It is not every day someone reports an alligator in Lake Michigan and the report is true,” the city of Waukegan said in a Facebook post paired with a photo of the gator, its mouth secured shut with a blue band.
Either way, it had no business paddling around the suburban Chicago shoreline, and Waukegan spokesman David Motley said Tuesday that animal control officers are trying to determine who abandoned the alligator, which was found with its mouth taped shut.
Motley said the gator likely would have died within a few weeks if it hadn't been rescued and brought to an animal control officer. He said the same thing happened in 2012 when someone left a live 14-foot python on the lakefront.
The alligator will be taken to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, officials said.