GASTON COUNTY, N.C. – A dead alligator was discovered on an inland North Carolina riverbank, with many wondering how the reptile ended up there.
On Sunday, Antonio Figueroa, his fiance and brother were fishing on the Catawba River in Belmont when they discovered the reptile, non-responsive.
It was too late to rescue as the gator was resting on the riverbank when senior wildlife officer Cody Walker found the alligator Tuesday afternoon.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission safely removed the carcass.
"Obviously, they're not native to this region," said Walker, who added that a thorough investigation will ensue to find out how this alligator ended up in the river.
Upon further review, the animal was a robust reptile, indicating that it was likely someone's pet before being dumped, which can carry a hefty fine.
The alligator's cause of death has yet to be determined."This is a crime scene," said Walker. "It still is until we come to a conclusion."