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Alligator discovered in Somerset

The animal is around 2 feet long. Photo: Adrian Hearn

Bristol Water staff inspecting a Somerset reservoir have spotted what appeared to be an alligator.

The reptile was spotted near to Chew Valley reservoir by Bristol Water staff.

They caught the two-foot-long animal with a net and put it in a box.

The species spotted is native to the Americas. Credit: Adrian Hearn

John Harris, fisheries and recreation officer at Bristol Water, says the animal hissed when approached.

We're not exactly sure what reptile it is, whether it's a cayman, alligator or crocodile, but we think it's an alligator. We've found terrapins in the past, but to see a reptile like this is very surprising.

– John Harris

Experts now believe that the animal is in fact a caiman, which can grow to 15 feet - bigger than their alligator relatives.

The caiman is one of the largest predators in the Amazon basin.

It is not known how the exotic reptile has found its way to the West country.

Bristol Water say the alligator is now safe.

The RSPCA says it is experiencing a 'worrying number' of reptiles being abandoned by negligent owners.

It also says caimans are not suitable pets.

The animal may grow very large, live for a long time, become aggressive and can be dangerous. They also require a licence to be legally kept.

– RSPCA

WATCH footage of the running reptile below: