What the heck was an alligator doing in Kansas?

WICHITA, Kan. — Kansas wildlife officials are clueless to the origins of an alligator found floating dead in a Kansas lake on Wednesday.

Jason Goeckler, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks invasive species coordinator, said the 64-inch long reptile was found by a fisherman near the warm water discharge area of Coffey County Lake.

The lake is basically the water supply for the Wolf Creek Nuclear plant north of Burlington.

Goeckler hasn’t heard any reports of alligators in Kansas for several years. A few years ago a caiman, a relative to alligators, was found near Cheney Lake. It had escaped from a nearby residence where it was being kept as a pet.

In the wild alligators range in the Gulf States and as far north as southern Arkansas or extreme southeast Oklahoma.

Wildlife and Parks has no idea how long the 'gator may have been in the lake.

They do know, however, that it shouldn’t have been put there.

“We’re looking at it as another invasive species, like zebra mussels, and trying to educate the public,” Goeckler said. “You don’t release exotic species into our environment. It’s illegal and it could be dangerous.”

View photos of the alligator at