People fishing and participating in outdoor activities at Colorado's Sloan's Lake are used to coming across the typical species of wildlife that live in and around the water. Trout, bluegill, and catfish swim freely in Denver's biggest lake and a variety of birds also call this place home.

However, an animal not native to Sloan's Lake, or Colorado at all for that matter, was rescued from the waters last week, which was quite a surprise for those who found it.

On the morning of June 16, Colorado Fish and Game Department located a female caiman swimming freely in the lake. These reptiles are in the same family as alligators and although they are smaller in size than their scaly relatives, the rest of their features look fairly similar.

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Because the caiman in Sloan's Lake was difficult to catch, Fish and Game enlisted the help of a local reptile professional who already cares for several other caimans and knows how to handle them. He ultimately had to dive from a boat into the water and retrieve the reptile barehanded - something that sounds like it's straight out of the Steve Irwin playbook.

The rescued caiman has been lovingly named Miss Bo Mangles. She's also now joined a team of other service reptiles known as Oscar and Friends, that is used for educational purposes in Colorado. I got to meet her in downtown Castle Rock over the weekend and she was as sweet as could be, even with tons of kids surrounding her.

A Caiman was Caught Swimming in Colorado's Sloan Lake
Kelsey Nistel/TSM
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Wildlife officials believe that someone released the predatory reptile into Sloan's Lake on purpose. Not only was this dangerous to other humans, but it gave the caiman a slim chance of survival. One of the rescuers noted that if they had not saved Miss Bo Mangles, she likely wouldn't have lived through the night.

Unwanted pets should never be released into the wild. There are plenty of rescues throughout the state that will gladly take in animals that can no longer be cared for in the proper way.

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