BELMONT, NC (WBTV) - A man fishing on the Catawba River Sunday got quite the surprise when he came across a dead alligator floating in the water.
Antonio Figueroa said he was fishing at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont when he saw the large reptile from his boat. He posted photos of the gator on his Facebook page.
Figueroa said he called North Carolina Wildlife officers and they came to get the alligator's body.
Officials said the alligator was over five feet long.
The department took photos of the animal in the back of a truck as they were removing it.
The alligator was then taken to the Morganton Wildlife Depot for further investigation on a biological standpoint.
Officers said this alligator is not native to this region of the state, and are more common on the eastern side of NC.
They do not know how it got to Belmont but said it appears it had been in captivity based on its width. Officers also said that the alligator was seen alive Saturday night before it was found dead on Sunday.
There is no word on how the gator may have died.