Runaway Reptile Caught

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An unusual fugitive was on the loose in a south-central Kansas town Wednesday and it generated quite a buzz.

If an alligator ever traveled along the streets of Caldwell, it likely had been turned into a pair of boots belonging to one of the many cowhands helping move cattle up the Chisholm Trail in the 1800s. However, a live alligator found itself the subject of Caldwell's most recent roundup.

"The longer he's out, the bigger he gets," said local Pharmacist Linn Shaffer, referring to the buzz -- and stories -- surrounding the alligator's escape.

After escaping from home, the runaway reptile generated plenty of conversation, rumors and conflicting information, but it did not do much to disrupt life in the Sumner County town, Shaffer said.

"We ran our regular deliveries and nobody was lost," he chuckled.

The only changes the getaway gator prompted were at the elementary school.

"We decided, along with the police, that it might be best if we just kept our kids in for recess," said Alan Jamison, Superintendent of Schools for Caldwell USD 360.

That decision was made as a precaution because the house the alligator escaped from was just a couple of blocks away from the school. However, the alligator was never spotted on school grounds, Jamison said.

"The closest I've heard that it might be is within two blocks of the school and in some weeds or something like that," he said. "We had delivery of a John Deere Gator yesterday for our football field, so that would have been a gator that I would have believed would have been spotted on campus."

The alligator was caught about 7 p.m. after it was found hiding out in a local lumber yard. Though it measures in at 38 inches, it is probably not the biggest reptile in town.

"There's longer snakes than four foot roaming around, but everybody knows what they are because they usually are good for rats and mice, but a gator nobody knows," Shaffer said. "It just broke the monotony. We're still waiting for rain, but this gave us something to talk about."

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