LOVELAND - A group of ponds and the 30-acre natural recreation area around it are closed until further notice in Loveland because of an unusual guest.

The city says it has confirmed sightings of a large reptile in the Jayhawker Ponds Natural Area. The animal is believed to be between 5 to 7 feet long and may be an alligator or caiman.

A boy was fishing with friends Wednesday night when he says the reptile lunged out of the water and scared them.

"We were sitting there getting ready to cast our poles out in the water and then something really big jumped out of the water and tried to get on the dock but it was too big and fell right back into the water," John Peck told CBS4.

Animal control confirmed the sighting and the city is working out a plan to catch the creature.

"(We'll use) an electroshocking boat to electrify the water and make it pop up," said Aimee Ryel, state wildlife officer. Police Sgt. Rae Bontz said, "As long as people stay away no one is in any danger."

The ponds are currently closed off with warning tape. Police officers and security guards have also been posted to keep unknowing visitors away.

Loveland resident Bill Schaft said he also recently spotted the creature rising out the of pond.

"None of my friends believed me. They thought I was up to something," he told CBS4.

How authorities will catch the creature remains a question that largely depends on how big and hungry it is, said Sherri Stokley, whose parents own Colorado Gators, a reptile sanctuary in Alamosa. Loveland officials are working with Stokley's company and the Colorado Division of Wildlife on their plan.

"Probably somebody had it as a pet and let it go," said Stokley. There was no sign it was able to walk out of water like Hollywood's creatures from the black lagoon.

It is not the first time a caiman or alligator has been released in a Colorado pond. In one case, in Denver, the creature was never found even after Washington Park's lake was drained.