Lifestyle Pets Alligator Wrangled Out of Pond Behind Michigan Junior High School Local zoologists believe the reptile is a pet alligator that escaped or was abandoned by its owner By Kelli Bender Kelli Bender Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards. Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 23, 2019 04:59 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Getty School’s back in session at Bedford Junior High School in Temperance, Michigan; and there was a surprising new student this year. According to CNN, a 3-foot American alligator was pulled from a pond behind the school on Friday after being spotted by a Bedford teacher on Thursday. Staff at the school did not try to wrestle the reptile out of the pond themselves, instead they “contacted the proper agencies and experts to assist with its removal,” Bedford Junior High School posted on Facebook on Thursday, including a warning to stay away from the pond until the toothy culprit was caught. Here’s a Map of All the Surprising Places Alligators Have Appeared Over the Past Year Zoologists from Michigan’s Indian Creek Zoo in Lambertville tried to catch the gator on Thursday, but the creature allude the experts. To help with the search, the pond was drained, WTVG reports, and on Friday the gator was safely caught in the pond’s shallow water and transported to the zoo, where it will live out its days with the zoos three other gators: Gatorade, Powerade, and Kool-Aid. “Mr. Joe Gaverick and his zoo crew wrangled this reptile safely out of our Biology Pond and it will enjoy a new home with the the many other Indian Creek Zoo residents. The Biology Pond area is once again open. We would like to thank them for their assistance in making our campus grounds safe for all visitors,” the school wrote on the website about the capture, adding that they “had fun with our short-term guest!” American alligators are not native to Michigan, so its unclear how this short-term guest became a resident of the state. Gaverick, owner of the Indian Creek Zoo, told WTVG that the reptile was likely being kept as a pet and either escaped or was abandoned by its owner.