Wildlife officials said an alligator found in a Kentucky lake most likely was a pet released by its owner when it became too large to keep.

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A couple boating in the Kentucky Dam Marina area of Kentucky Lake in Marshall County spotted the reptile Saturday and alerted state officials.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials said the alligator was out of the water and dead by the time wildlife officers arrived. They said the gator appeared to have been hit in the head by a boat propeller and apparently then climbed out of the water, where it died from its injuries.

Officials said the alligator was likely a pet that was released into the lake. They said alligators would not be able to survive in the lake when the weather causes the water temperature to drop below 40 degrees.

An alligator previously was found dead in Kentucky's Cumberland River in January 2018. Officials said the reptile likely died from the cold.

Kentucky law prohibits the keeping of alligators as pets.