In a twist more befitting a Disney cartoon, a tortoise may have helped a 12-inch alligator escape an Upper Peninsula zoo.
The alligator, named Carlos, escaped an enclosure over the weekend at the GarLyn Zoo near Naubinway. It is believed that a tortoise that walks in the area may have worn the dirt down enough near the fence, inadvertently allowing the alligator to escape.
??My first thought was it was a large gator that got out,?? said zoo owner Gary Moore. ??I was really relieved to find out it was just a little guy that got out.??
The alligator was spotted by a pedestrian near the zoo entrance on Sunday night and called law enforcement.
??It's not every day you see a complaint come in where law enforcement is dispatched to an escaped alligator,?? said Michigan State Police Trooper Fred Strich.
The alligator has not been found and the search continues.
Alligators can grow to be over 7-feet long, however, ??They need a certain temperature to eat and digest food,?? said Moore. ??In Northern Michigan once we get to October and start getting the cold night and 50-degree days, he'll just slow down and then the snow cover up and that'll be the end of it.??
Anyone who spots the alligator should call the Michigan State Police.