BRANSON, Mo. — On the night of Monday, July 20, 2020, Derek Marlin was guiding a fishing trip for his company, Firehouse Bowfishing, when he discovered something strange floating near the top of the water.

“At first, we thought it was a snake. We got up to it and thought maybe it’s a salamander,” said Derek Marlin. “And we got it in the net, and said ‘no that’s not a salamander, that’s definitely an alligator.'”

Marlin says his customer got his money’s worth on this fishing tour.

“My client we took out last night was named Bo,” said Marlin. “Since we caught it with him, he requested that we name it after him, so this is Bo the alligator.”

After catching the baby alligator, Marlin reached out to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). A spokesperson for MDC, Francis Skalicky, says Bo was likely someone’s pet illegally dumped into Missouri waters.

“It’s more than just words on a page,” said Skalicky. “It’s because they’re not meant to be here. They will wreck our ecosystems. It will do those animals no favors and overall it’s just a bad idea.”

Marlin says he is glad he rescued the alligator before it was too late.

“There’s probably no way this thing could’ve lived if we didn’t pull it out of Taneycomo with that water being so cold,” said Marlin. “It’s most likely someone’s pet that they let go. So, we rescued him from the lake and he’s going to go to a new good home.”

The alligator, according to Marlin, is the coolest animal he has ever caught in the Ozarks.