Prior Lake, Minn. family says they found alligator on lake shore

Quinlynn Lehrnann holds up the alligator her family says they found along Prior Lake, Minn.

In October, 9-year-old Quinlynn Lehrnann says she found a dead alligator on the shores of Prior Lake near her grandparent’s home. 

“It was kind of camouflaged in with the seaweed so it kind of looked like seaweed and then I took a closer look and it was an alligator,” Quinlynn said.

She showed the rest of her family who, at first, had a hard time believing an alligator would be anywhere near Minnesota.

“I mean I thought it was a hoax at first when I got the picture but when I came down here it was real,” Quinlynn’s grandma Connie Peer said. 

After naming the alleged alligator “Mr. Chopps” the family says they called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to have them come check out what they had found. 

Peer says an officer with the DNR told them to put the dead animal in the freezer until they could come and pick it up. Peer says an officer with the DNR came to their house on Saturday and spent some time talking to Quinlynn about the animal and what they were planning on testing it for.

“They told us they’re going to run some tests and see how old it was, how much it weighed, where it came from and see if it had an owner or not and see how old it was and see how long it was and stuff,” Quinlynn said.

Peer says the DNR officer who came to their home told them the animal could have been a pet that escaped or was let go in the lake. They told her if it was a pet, the owner would be required to have a license.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did not immediately respond to FOX 9’s request for comment about the alligator.

Quinlynn is hoping she will get the animal back from the DNR after testing so she can turn it into a keepsake.

“I want to get it taxidermied,” Quinlynn said.

“This was probably the best MEA break she could ever have. She has learned so much,” Peer said.

Information on keeping exotic pets

Requirements from the Minnesota Board of Health

Minnesota State Statue