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CLEBURNE -- The 911 call almost sounds like the start to a bad joke.

'If you were to catch an alligator, what would you do with it?' the teenage caller asked a Cleburne police dispatcher.

'Uh... I wouldn't catch an alligator in the first place,' she responded.

But that 911 call proved to be one wild night for three fearless teens. 14-year-olds Joey Kane, Craig Kite and one other friend were out checking their fishing net on Buffalo Creek near the Cleburne/Rio Vista border Tuesday night when they discovered much more than expected.

'We kept pulling, and then we were like, 'Dang, this is heavy,'' Kane said, 'and we pull it all the way up and it's a big ol' gator.'

Instead of running for the hills, like many of us would do, they pulled the six-foot gator onto dry land by its tail, wrapped its snout with a strap, and called police. The boys say the alligator was calm at first, but eventually started snapping at them. They snapped pictures when they could.

News 8 asked if they were scared of getting bitten, or even dying.

'No, not really,' Kane said.

'I thought it was actually pretty cool,' Kite added. 'Actually caught a gator!'

'Well, they've been watching the Animal Channel, then,' joked neighbor Roy Meek. The whole thing went down right near his home, unbeknownst to him.

He said it's a first in his six years of living in Cleburne.

'We've seen some big ol' turtles,' he said, but never an alligator.

A captain with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office said the alligator had to be put down because of injuries it sustained from the hooks on the trotline.

A state alligator expert said alligators aren't common in this area of Texas, and this one likely traveled here for water.

Whatever the reason, Cleburne's own 'crocodile hunters' will have quite the story to tell when they start their freshman year in high school come fall.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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