"Florida, Louisiana are the strongholds. But they extend as far North as Southern North Carolina." said Assistant Professor Ben Jellen.
This gator was grabbed by the Illinois conservation police from a home in Tamms, Illinois where it was being kept illegally. Now students get to see the 16 inch long one year old up close.
How big can the alligator get? Well it will be limited by the size of it's container, at least as far as McKendree is concerned. So, three or four feet and then it's headed to live out it's life on a reptile farm or zoo in Missouri.
That's why experts want to get the word out about this reptilian runt. Sure it's cute and cuddly now, but can grow up to 16 feet long and weigh almost one 1,000lbs.
For the time being, this alligator will remain on the campus of McKendree where it will be known as a Bearcat.