"The teeth were quite sharp," Caiman found in Morristown

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MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) - It's a Thanksgiving to remember for a family in Morristown after they wrangled a caiman out of Cherokee Lake.

Jill Robinson told WVLT News that her home is surrounded by 150 acres of TVA property, lending itself to countless sightings of deer, fox, coyote and even eagles. Never did she imagine a type of alligator would show up in the waters of Cherokee Lake.

Her boyfriend, Eddie Copeland, said he spotted the animal and wasn't sure what to think. "At first, I thought it was real and then said, nah it couldn't be real, it has to be a cement statue."

Copeland grabbed Robinson's son-in-law, Jason Coffey, for help. Coffey jumped into the lake, grabbed the animal and brought it to shore.

Robinson said, "The teeth were quite sharp and Eddie was able to take electrical tape and loosely tape its mouth because it was trying to bite."

The next step, figuring out where the caiman came from. Robinson posted on Facebook and quickly found her answer. She received a lot of replies that the reptile was actually a pet that went missing more than two months ago.

Robinson said she made contact with the owner who lives in Morristown, and the animal was quickly returned to its rightful enclosure.

The caiman allegedly belongs to the same man who had a caiman escape in June.

In June, the Hamblen County Sheriff's Office shared a picture of a caiman. It was eventually transferred to Zoo Knoxville to be identified and was reunited with the owner later.

It is not confirmed whether or not the caiman that was discovered on Thanksgiving is the same one that escaped in the summer.