Perrysburg Township resident Paul Garland was washing his four-wheeler Thursday afternoon when an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper approached him with an unusual request. There was an alligator that had been spotted in a creek near Hull Prairie and Roachton roads, and they needed Mr. Garland‘s help getting it out.
“That was the most bizarre thing,” he said. “Why is there a gator here in Perrysburg?”
Troopers reportedly came to Mr. Garland because of his experience with his reptile business, M&P Reptiles. Mr. Garland said he used to owned alligators before the law changed recently.
Down at the creek, Mr. Garland tapped the 4-foot American alligator’s tail and head to distract it. For a second the gator was able to get in deeper water and get behind Mr. Garland, but only momentarily, he said.
Then Mr. Garland got behind it, grabbed its tail, went behind its back legs “to have more control,” and then held its head. He was able to carry him up to the curb, put the animal on the ground between his legs and ran tape around its mouth. No one was injured.
“It was not scary,” he said. “It‘s something I‘ve been used to doing. I understand if you haven’t dealt with it you would be nervous and freak out.”
After several photos the troopers took of the animal, Mr. Garland put it in one of his crates until the Ohio Department of Agriculture got there at about 7:30 p.m. and took the gator. Mr. Garland thought it was about 5 feet; ODA officials said 4 feet.
“They had him secure when we got there and now its under our care,” said Brett Gates, ODA spokesman. “We will be taking it to an out of state sanctuary.”
He did not want to speculate where it came from, but said there has been no claims by a potential owner.
While there have been some instances, Mr. Gates said they don‘t typically get too many alligators in Ohio. Mr. Garland said he’s heard of some alligators in the Maumee River, but was shocked to see one in Perrysburg Township.
M&P Reptiles brings animals to special events. They have tortoises, turtles, frogs, pythons, and salamanders, among others - but not alligators, Mr. Garland said.