A traveler saw the two foot long gator beneath an escalator in terminal 3 of O'Hare airport in Chicago.
They quickly alerted a maintenance worker who called police. The “very lethargic” gator, nicknamed Allie, was then trapped in a garbage can.
A spokesman for the airport confirmed the animal was in poor physical condition but acknowledged things could have gone much worse.
“It could have gotten into baggage, what if it had gotten on the tarmac or run over by a plane?’’
The Chicago Tribune reports it’s believed someone left the animal there on purpose.
“Some human being physically carried it there and put it there, it’s not big enough to operate automatic doors.’’
A spokesperson for the Herpetological Society theorized on why the animal was abandoned.
“One of the problems is they live so darn long, people don't realize. When your child turns 18 you can throw him out the door but this is America, you have to be a responsible pet owner.’’
The gator was turned over to the Chicago Herpetological Society where it will be cared for before finding a permanent home.