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A 9-foot, 6-inch male alligator was pulled out of Claremore Lake and euthanized.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation spokesperson Micah Holmes said it’s his understanding that it was an American alligator.

Holmes said they don’t know how the alligator got into Claremore Lake and assume it was brought to the lake illegally.

“That’s one of the biggest questions is how this alligator got to the lake because it’s way outside its typical native range,” he said.

Holmes said he didn’t know from which section of the lake the alligator was removed.

Holmes said euthanizing an animal is not the first thing they want to do, but in this situation where the reptile is way outside its normal range and near a highly-populated area with lots of activity and people, it became a matter of public safety.

“Public safety is our number one concern,” he said.

Holmes said there is no way to tell how long the alligator has been at Claremore Lake.

“We do have alligators native to Oklahoma, but they are confined to the far southeast region of the state,” he said.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, American alligators can be found in the coastal wetlands of the U.S. Southeast and are usually found in slow-moving freshwater rivers, but also inhabit swamps, marshes, and lakes.

Holmes said there have been no other reports of alligators at the lake.

This isn’t the first time an alligator has been spotted at Claremore Lake. A 2-foot long alligator was spotted swimming in Dog Creek eight years ago, according to a previous Progress article. The article stated that the alligator may have been dumped after it got too big for it’s aquarium.

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