Giant Alligator Found in Oklahoma Lake Killed by Wildlife Officials

A large alligator measuring almost 10 feet in length was spotted in Claremore Lake, Oklahoma, according to wildlife officials.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) said it had received reports from members of the public of a large alligator in the lake—located in the northeast of the state—about a week ago, KTUL reported.

Department officials later visited the part of the lake where the alligator had been seen and found it. A DWC spokesperson said that, unfortunately, the animal had to be euthanized for public safety reasons.

This decision was taken after officials determined that the male alligator, which measured 9 feet and 6 inches in length, was too large to relocate.

An American alligator
Stock image showing an American alligator. A large alligator measuring almost 10 feet in length was spotted in Claremore Lake, Oklahoma, and later euthanized. iStock

In addition, officials did not know where the alligator had come from and were unsure about the animal's temperament around people.

American alligators are found in coastal wetlands throughout the southeastern U.S., with their range stretching as far north as North Carolina and as far west as eastern Texas, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Male American alligators can grow to more than 12 feet in length and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds, although females tend to be slightly smaller on average.

In Oklahoma, alligators are only found in the southeast of the state, including in the Red and Little River systems that run through Choctaw, Bryan, McCurtain, and Love counties, according to the DWC.

"Alligators are not common sights anywhere in Oklahoma except the very tip of the southeast corner of the state—down even south of Broken Bow," Don Brown, a communication specialist with the DWC told KFOR in an article published last year.

"Usually, you have to go looking for one to spot one. They typically tend to be back in the swampy areas, down there, down by the river in very inaccessible locations," he said. "If you can watch them from a distance and leave them alone, they'll usually leave you alone."

According to Brown, most alligators found in parts of Oklahoma outside of the southeast are former pets that have been released by the owners.

This also may have been the case with the alligator spotted in Claremore Lake, with the DWC spokesperson saying that someone likely released the animal into the lake illegally, News On 6 reported.

Last month, an alligator broke into the garage of a Florida family's house and began helping itself to a stash of drinks.

Also in April, an 11-foot alligator caused a traffic jam in Florida's Seminole County after crawling onto a road.

Newsweek has contacted the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for comment.