BASEHOR, Kan. – Heavy rains are likely to drive all sorts of critters to seek higher ground in Kansas and Missouri, but not many would expect to see an alligator.
It happened Monday night in Basehor, Kansas when the large reptile stopped in the middle of a road.
"I honestly started laughing," Natalie Cowan said, who stopped her car. "I was like, 'This has to be a joke. It's not real.'"
They may be used to gators in Florida, but they're a strange sight in the Sunflower State. So much so, that sheriff deputies didn't quite know what to do.
"The officer actually drew his gun," Cowan said. "He was like, 'If this thing starts running at me again, I'll have to put it down.'"
Video shows the more than 4-foot-long alligator lunging at a law enforcement officer after he dared to get close.
Cowan, 20, spotted the reptile near 163rd Street and Donahoo Road as she was driving home Monday night. She says she slowed down after seeing a raccoon cross in front of her, and then says she was shocked to see what followed.
"I continued to go forward and I see two more eyes," Cowan said. "So I was like, 'It’s probably a family of raccoons.' Then I get closer, and I see a crocodile! Or an alligator! I see an alligator!"
For more than 15 minutes Cowan said the alligator stood motionless in the middle of the road, blocking her path. She said after law enforcement officers spooked it, the gator charged toward her for a few anxious moments, freaking her out.
She said a deputy did draw his handgun, but did not have to shoot.
Eventually, officers learned the gator was a pet and had escaped from a neighbor's property. It went home on its own after people left it alone.
Cowan called it cool to have an alligator for a pet, so long as it is not near her.