WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- An alligator was captured in a west St. Louis County creek over the weekend. The 4 and a half foot reptile apparently escaped from its enclosure and was living in the creek for two weeks.

On Sunday, Chris Suljak was busy trimming tree limbs in the yard of his Wildwood home when he heard a splash in the creek behind his house.

"As I turned I happened to see a tail go into the water and it looked exactly like an alligator tail," he said.

Suljack waited 15 minutes before whatever made the splash came to the surface and his eyes weren't playing tricks on him, and he spotted an alligator in the water. He said he didn't know where it came from but was concerned it could pose a danger.

"We got a lot of kids in this subdivision. I didn't want anybody to get hurt," he said.

Suljak and another man attached a dog leash to the end of a long pole and were able to get it around the alligator's neck and pull it out of the water. He estimates it weighed 50 pounds and measured it to 54 inches. For their safety, he was able to get some duct tape around the reptile's mouth.

He said he called animal control, the Missouri Conservation Department, 911 and others and no one wanted to come get the alligator. He finally reached the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline which sent someone to pick up the alligator. A spokesperson said the animal was returned to its owner.

After Suljak posted photos of the alligator on Facebook, the owner messaged him and told him he lives nearby and that the alligator got out of its enclosure about 2 weeks ago.

In Missouri, it's legal to own an alligator but if the alligator reaches 8 feet long, state law requires an owner to notify the local police department that they're the owner of a potentially deadly animal.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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