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Animal control officials in Iowa thought they were hunting down an alligator but instead they got a crock.
The animal experts were called to a Des Moines apartment parking lot to deal with a large reptile that turned out to be a stuffed animal.
“While their fear was real, the alligator, it turns out, was not,” the Animal Rescue League of Iowa Animal Services posted on its Facebook page.
Jumpy residents at the complex walked out and got a scare when they spotted what was described as a 4- or 5-foot alligator. They reported it and “anxiously” waited for help to arrive, the post said.
Stephanie Filer, director of development and communications for the ARL, told the Post the residents who called in the report were “legitimately afraid” and did the right thing by not approaching what could have been a dangerous situation.
“Our Animal Services Officers often respond to dangerous calls so this was certainly a relief for everyone involved that it was a fake alligator…this time,” Filer said.
A photo of the toy accompanied the post. It wasn’t clear how it got there.
“The large stuffed alligator is now safe in the care of ARL Animal Services,” the post stated.
Although an alligator rescue would’ve been uncommon, it wouldn’t have been the first for the Iowa group, Filer said.
In 2012, the group picked up an alligator living in a bathtub in a home with an adult, infant and a dog. The group has rescued tigers, monkeys and other exotic animals not suitable as pets, she said.
“So when we received the call over the weekend about an alligator in an apartment parking lot, we expected it to be real and took the call extremely seriously,” she said.
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