Michigan Man Collecting Minnows Looks Up To See Alligator Hissing At Him

He had escaped from a neighbor's enclosure.

July 25, 2019 - 9:00 am

(WWJ) A man shot and killed an escaped alligator after he says the reptile lunged at him at his rural Michigan property.

Derrick Fells says he was collecting minnows in a ditch Saturday in Tuscola County's Dayton Township -- in the Thumb area -- when he heard a "hissing" sound and the alligator tried to attack.

He says he apparently startled the reptile, and it "turned on" him. He says he shot it with a pistol and called 911.

The sheriff's office says the reptile was 5 to 6 feet. Investigators say  the alligator escaped from a fenced enclosure at a nearby exotic animal rescue.

The 45-year-old alligator owner did not know his gator had escaped until deputies showed up, Undersheriff Robert E. Baxter told MLive.

“He went, ‘I have three. Here’s one, here’s two, and…oops.’” Baxter explained.

Unknown is how the animal escaped, but the owner’s property was roughly 150 yards from where the gator was killed, Baxter said.