BEDFORD, Ind. -- When catching minnows in an Indiana creek the last thing you think you’ll find is a gator – but that’s just what friends Trace Hawkins and Cameron Lane found Thursday evening.
The 20-year-old friends were just about finished with their minnow catching when they noticed the reptile moving around in the weeds near Pleasant Run Creek in Bedford.
What they thought was a turtle or a snake turned out to be a 31.5-inch alligator.
"You see this alligator sitting there and you're like, what in the world have I just saw," said Lane.
Even crazier, the creek is right behind Hawkins’ house.
They ditched their minnows and instead used the cooler to take the creature home.
"Once we ratchet strapped it down to the Koboda we knew what we had," said Hawkins. "That's when the celebration started."
After scooping up their find – the pair called the Department of Natural Resources to find out what they should do next.
The conservation officer they spoke with said it’s likely the gator was a pet that was dumped into the creek when it got too big. They’re now trying to determine exactly what type it is and where it will need to go next.
For now, the boys are enjoying their local celebrity status as the "gator men."
"Never thought we'd get out of church today," said Lane.
"Never would have dreamed it would have gone this big or viral," said Hawkins. "People chasing dad down at the Rural King and asking him about it."
“For now it is happy and healthy and being cared for," said Trace's mother, Shauna Hawkins.