Earlier this week, residents in a Des Moines neighborhood spotted something so strange, it caused a number of them to call the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Numerous residents of a Des Moines apartment complex had to do a double-take and maybe pinch themselves when they spotted a 4-5 foot alligator in the parking lot.

Since alligators are not a normal sight in the hawkeye state, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa sprang into action, albeit a bit perplexed as to how the giant reptile may have made this parking lot its temporary home.

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When an Animal Officer arrived a short time later, residents' fears were quickly erased when the officer found that the animal wasn't an animal at all, but a stuffed animal.

While this was a thankful false alarm, experts stress that if you do happen to encounter an alligator, it's best to give it plenty of space and call animal control.

Obviously, spotting an alligator in the state of Iowa would be an extremely rare occurrence, but it's not completely unheard of. Over the years, there have been a number of sightings, mainly on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Most recently, an alligator was spotted with its babies near Council Bluffs, Iowa last year.

In that instance, the alleged encounter with around 6 or 7 alligators happened on a nearby lake to the Missouri River.

Story Source: Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Story Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Story Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Story Source: KCRR

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