London, Ontario residents recently found something more interesting than ducks and beavers at their local reservoir – a five kilogram common Caiman, relative of the Alligator.
Locals had spotted the Caiman over the weekend, but Animal Control were unable to catch it.
Area resident John Stephan had heard about the creature, and decided to have look for himself while walking his Shih Tzu, Gunner, near the reservoir last evening. The film crews were apparently a dead give away that something out of the ordinary was going on.
From the London Free Press –
“I asked what was going on and I was told there was a small crocodile or alligator in the pond,” he said. “There had been sightings and it had been filmed.”
Stephan decided to look for the creature on the south side of the pond, “because I noticed it was reedy over there.”
When he got to the reeds, he followed a slithery trail in the muck until he found an alligator sunning itself on a bed of weeds.
Stephan is apparently quite the amateur crocodile hunter, because his first reaction on spotting the caiman wasn’t to run screaming in circles (my probable reaction), but rather to simply reach down and grab it.
“It wasn’t moving,” he said. “I came up to it from behind, reached down and grabbed it with my bare hands.”
“I think it was a bit listless because of the cold. But when I picked it up, it struggled to free itself. I wasn’t going to let go, though. I’ve got big strong hands and I kept a tight grip on it.”
Stephan walked with the caiman, a relative of the alligator, about 75 meters to an A Channel truck, where he asked television reporter Nick Paparella to get some duct tape and tape the mouth of the creature shut.
The Caiman was later “identified by an exotic wildlife specialist as a “spectacled or common caiman”. It’s been speculated that someone bought it as a pet, and turned it loose in the pond when it grew too large.
*Shortly after the Caiman was caught, Sarnia Animal Control Officer Brad Loosley arrived on the scene and insisted that the Caiman was actually a Pit Bull.
“Check out those locking jaws!”, a frothing at the mouth Loosley exclaimed to bemused television crews. “That’s a Pit Bull, alright. The beady eyes give it away”.
When Loosley was informed that reptile specialists had identified the creature as a Caiman, he scoffingly replied “Those guys aren’t experts on Pit Bulls – me, I’m a Pit Bull expert. I’m an Animal Control officer, dammit. Bow to my authority”.
Loosley then noticed Gunner, Mr. Stephan’s Shih Tzu, and attempted to nab Gunner with a snare pole. When asked what on earth he thought he was doing, Loosley shrieked that Pit Bulls come in all sizes, and that Gunner was obviously a miniature, long haired Pit Bull. “Oh, sure – they look like family pets”, a wild eyed Loosley was heard to exclaim. “Until the day they snap and savage your ankle, and then it’s all over, buddy”.
An A Team technician then wrestled a hysterical Loosley to the ground and duct taped his mouth shut, commenting that he ‘seemed a little bit irate, and was ranting something about being denied his due measure of death dealing. He seems a bit nuts, honestly’.*