(USA TODAY) -- One airline passenger likely got a jolt when she crossed paths with a 2-foot-long alligator at Chicago O'Hare's Terminal 3 on Friday.
GET A CLOSER LOOK AT THE GATOR | PHOTO GALLERY
The passenger, who spotted the alligator under an escalator, quickly alerted security guard Tineka Walker, who was on patrol in Terminal 3 at the time."I looked, I said, 'What?' " Walker tells Chicago's WBBM-TV about her reaction when the passenger told her about the alligator.
And when Walker radioed for help, Chicago Police Officer Anthony Oliver says to WBBM that he "figured somebody was messing with us."But the alligator was real and officers eventually captured the reptile by placing a trash can over it. They then called the Chicago Herpetological Society, which now has possession of the animal.
A spokesman for the Chicago Herpetological Society tells the Chicago Tribune that "Allie" - as the gator has been dubbed by police - was still "in distress" Sunday after being left on the cold concrete floor at O'Hare.
"It was in pretty bad shape," Jason Hood, the group's president, tells The Associated Press. "We're trying to get it healthy and find a place for it."That all leads to the question of just how Allie got to be in O'Hare in the first place.
WBBM reports "a major clue to how it ended up at the airport emerged on Twitter on Friday when someone posted photos of a man holding what appeared to be the same alligator." The tweet placed the alligator on Chicago's Blue Line, the same line that includes O'Hare among its stops."
"They probably realized they couldn't take it through checkpoint, and just let him go, but, oh my God!" Bob Bavirsha, a reptile specialist with the Chicago Herpetological Society, said to WBBM while speculating on the scenario that led to Allie's arrival to O'Hare."What if a little kid grabbed this, thinking it was a toy?" Bavirsha says to WBBM. "That could do a nasty job."
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