UPDATE: The alligator's owner has come forward to explain how it got loose.
(WLUK) -- It was a rare occurrence at a Fond du Lac County lake.
The alligator found in Long Lake is currently with J & R Aquatic Animal Rescue. Its director believes it was a pet that escaped from its owner.
“We are going to be holding this guy for about a week after that we are going to try to place him into a sanctuary where he can live out his days outdoors," says director John Moyles.
DNR Amphibian/Reptile Biologist Rori Paloski typically only gets one report a year of an alligator in Wisconsin.
“They are definitely not naturally occurring; they are not native to Wisconsin; they are always going to be either captive escape pets or captive release pets that get into lakes,” says Paloski.
Experts say the chances of an alligator surviving a Wisconsin winter is very unlikely.
"Their thermal tolerance in Arkansas is about the furthest north that they can survive in cold winters," says Paloski.
When asked if alligators are invasive species, Paloski responded with, "“There's two terms we use for species like this, one is non-native and one is invasive. For the alligator I would classify them as non-native, being not a native species to Wisconsin. They shouldn't be here; they are not a part of our natural landscape.”
Alligators are able to live in the Midwest in controlled environments. Carmen Murach, a Curator of Animals, at the NEW Zoo ensures their alligator Lucky, is in good hands.
“Lucky has an indoor space that he goes to for the winter, his pool is heated so we are able to extend his season earlier in the spring and later in the fall even when we are getting some nights that it's hitting freezing," says Murach.
Alligators eat fish, birds, small mammals, and anything else that gets too close.
Paloski says people should do their research before buying an alligator as a pet.
"Really think about if you are going to have the capability to keep that animal for a long time," says Paloski.
Paloski did ensure that this is not something Wisconsinites should be afraid of when swimming in lakes.