An alligator outside an Iowa apartment complex likely confused residents Monday until animal service officers put their theories to rest.
Officers responded to a Des Moines apartment where residents spotted a 4- to 5-foot alligator in the complex’s parking lot, officials say. Residents anxiously waited as an animal service officer examined the reptile.
There’s a reason the alligator wasn’t moving — it was stuffed, the animal services group said.
“While their fear was real, the alligator, it turns out, was not,” the Animal Rescue League of Iowa said. “The large stuffed alligator is now safe in the care of ARL Animal Services.”
The organization did not say why the stuffed alligator was in the parking lot.
American alligators are found in coastal wetlands, such as North Carolina, eastern Texas and southern Florida, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Alligators have been spotted in Iowa, but sightings are extremely rare, KSOM reported in 2020.