BURLINGTON — On Wednesday, a group of anglers were fishing near the warm-water discharge in Coffey County Lake near Burlington when they spotted an unexpected wildlife specimen — a 5-foot, 4-inch alligator.
Fortunately, the grizzled reptile was dead, so the anglers netted the critter and notified lake authorities, who called Jason Goeckler, aquatic nuisance species specialist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP).
“Alligators do not survive Kansas winters,” Goeckler said, “so this big guy was likely released by someone and then found refuge in the warm water of Coffey County Lake. We have no way of knowing how long it has been there. Lake staff estimate the animal to be 6-8 years old, but we can’t confirm that or at what age it was released. What we can tell folks is that release of exotic wildlife such as this is irresponsible, illegal, and potentially dangerous to native species.”