Michigan man fatally shoots alligator that lunged at him on rural property

Understanding Alligators

DAYTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan man thought the hissing sound on his rural property was a possum. Instead, he was confronted with an escaped alligator.

Derrick Fells, of Dayton Township, fatally shot the reptile after he said it lunged at him on his 17.5-acre property Saturday, WSBT reported.

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Last Saturday, a Tuscola County man shot and killed a PET alligator that escaped after it lunged at him. How residents are reacting & what sheriff’s deputies are saying, TONIGHT at 10/11.

Posted by Alysia Burgio TV on Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fells was catching minnows on his property when he was startled by the noise, WEYI reported.

"I heard this hissing sound and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from, and I thought maybe it was a possum I was going to walk up on," Fells told the television station. "There was a 6-foot alligator sunbathing, and when I spooked the alligator, it turned on me to come toward me. I pulled my pistol out, and I shot it. That paralyzed him, and then I immediately called 911."

According to the Tuscola County Sheriff's Office, the alligator escaped from a fenced enclosure at a nearby property where an exotic animal rescue was operating, WSBT reported. During their investigation, deputies said they found several wild animals on the property, including emus, tortoises and six rattlesnakes, WEYI reported.

“We were having our association meeting and someone had come in and said they had just shot an alligator in the canal,” Linda Davis told the television station. “We all kind of laughed because this is Michigan. We don’t have alligators in our canals."

But when Davis saw photos of the gators on Fell's property, she became concerned.

“The person that has the pets, they need to take a little more responsibility and think about the community," Davis told WEYI. "This is a hiking place, people ride their ATVs through here, people walk in the mornings."