4-foot caiman found in Lake Michigan is lucky to be alive

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — A wildlife worker says a 4-foot-long caiman found in Lake Michigan near Chicago would’ve been lucky to live a couple more weeks.

The alligator-like animal was spotted Monday morning by a kayaker fishing for salmon off the Waukegan shore. Chicago resident David Castaneda tells the Lake County News-Sun that he was shocked by the discovery and wasn’t sure whether it was a real animal or a toy.

Animal control workers helped rescue the caiman, whose mouth was taped shut. It was taken to the Wildlife Discovery Center in nearby Lake Forest.

Center curator Rob Carmichael says the caiman wouldn’t have survived as Lake Michigan keeps getting colder. Carmichael says it is unknown how long the caiman was in the lake and it will be checked out by a veterinarian.