Police received an anonymous tip an alligator was kept at the home, and authorities serving a search warrant found the 3 1/2 foot reptile living in a metal cage, the Bloomington Pantagraph reported Friday.
Danny Hubbs, 44, said he arrived at his home to find what he estimated as 30 law enforcement officers, ready to break down the door. He added his son, now in the U.S. Army, acquired the caiman alligator, indigenous to Central and South America, at a local swap meet a year ago.
Hubbs was cited for a misdemeanor violation of the Illinois Endangered Species Protection act, the newspaper said.
Jay Tetzloff, superintendent of Bloomington's Miller Park Zoo, warned against owning exotic animals such as the caiman alligator, saying, "They look good on TV but often they grow into something big and dangerous."