DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — It was a typical Wednesday evening for Virginia Tyus as she watered flowers in the front yard before heading in for supper. 

To her surprise, an unusual creature was lounging next to her petunias. 

"She called and said 'well I see the biggest snake, I've ever seen,'" said Craig Stevens Sr. "Then she said 'well it looks like an alligator.'" 

Stevens Sr. was in Blue Mound at a baseball game for his grandson when his mother-in-law called Wednesday night. 

"Everyone was just rolling in their chairs and like 'yeah, ok.'" 

To everyone's surprise, the 87-year-old's eyes weren't deceiving her. There was a 3 1/2 ft. long reptile next to her ceramic swans. 

"I walked up through the roses and I looked and that's all I needed to see," said Stevens. 

The family quickly called Macon County Animal Control. A Warden responded to the 900 block of East Cantrell to a report of an alligator in a yard. 

"Our initial reaction is disbelief and assuming it was a stuffed alligator that looks real," said Administrator Ron Atkins, Macon County Animal Control.  

According to Animal Control upon arrival Wardens located and captured a reptile approximately 3 ½’ long.

"I was not expecting that," said Atkins. 

Animal Control was unclear at first, if the reptile was an alligator or a caiman. Such an animal does not fall under their purview.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the reptile is in fact an American alligator, not native to Illinois.

IDNR tells WAND that Conservation Police are trying to determine whose alligator it is. But until then, the animal will go to an evidence holding facility. Once the investigation is complete, it will be transferred to a long-term care facility to live out its natural life.

Animal Control reported that the gator had no apparent injuries or abnormalities.

For Craig Stevens Sr. and his family, the alligator in the front yard will be a story that his family will tell for weeks and years to come. 

"An alligator in Decatur, that sounds a little unusual." 

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