Cyclists find alligator behind Missouri middle school

By Ben Hooper
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March 11 (UPI) -- A father and son out cycling near a Missouri school made an unusual discovery -- an alligator in the middle of the trail.

Jason Stratton said he and his son, AJ, were riding their bicycles on the Greenways Trail, right behind Carver Middle School, when he received a series of text messages and calls from the boy, who had was on the trail ahead of him.


Stratton went to the location specified by his son and found the boy and some hikers staring at an alligator in the middle of the trail.

The father said he decided to pick the gator up to prevent it from running away.

"None of them had picked it up yet, and had it been any bigger, I wouldn't have messed with it. I would have waited for Animal Control, but it really wasn't that big or all that active," Stratton told the Springfield News-Leader. "It was pretty calm. It seemed to be very healthy and well-fed, so I don't think it had been loose in the wild for very long."

An Animal Control officer was summoned to take custody of the animal, and Stratton said she was equally shocked to see the gator.


"If I could have gotten a picture of the expression on that girl's face when she first got there, it was quite apparent she had never had an alligator call here in Springfield before," he said.

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