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Alligator escapes from Wisconsin-based zoo, returns "home"

Boots the alligator makes a guest appearance as part of a Jo-Don Farms educational program.
Boots the alligator makes a guest appearance as part of a Jo-Don Farms educational program.
Photo courtesy of Jo-Don Farms via Jodonfarms.com.

Boots the alligator shimmied over or under several fences at the Jo-Don Farms Zoo in Caledonia, Wisconsin two weeks ago, presumably in order to make his way home. Or his home away from home.

Boots was caught four years ago in the Root River, which flows about a mile from the zoo, according to the Racine Journal Times. It's most likely that someone who had him as a pet released him there, according to zoo president Bob Meyer.

"Alligators are not native to that area," Meyer told City Pages. "I'm sure some kid bought him at a pet store and he started getting bigger and his mom and dad said, 'You've got to get rid of him' and the kid set him free in the river."

Over the past couple weeks since Boots' escape, he's been sighted many times at the Root River. The zoo has been sending out a search party each night.

"You've got to catch them at night with a flashlight," Meyer said.

According to Meyer, Boots is probably doing okay. "We were feeding him frozen rats and mice, but we also fed him fish," he said. "He's probably eating fish at the river."

And as for anyone who comes in contact with Boots, they'll probably be okay, too.

"He doesn't have a big enough mouth to even eat a small dog," Meyer told the Journal Times.


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