ROSEVILLE, Calif. (KCRA) -- A 4-foot crocodile was abandoned outside a reptile shop in Roseville, Calif. Wednesday.
The crocodile somehow managed to escape its container and spent time wandering around a strip mall before it was captured by animal control officers.
California Fish and Wildlife officials said the crocodile is very dangerous.
"This one is a really nasty crocodile," said Patrick Foy, a game warden. "It's got a really bad attitude. This animal genuinely is a very dangerous animal. Leaving it in a parking lot absolutely puts the public at risk, especially kids who might think that they can go and touch it -- people who just don't know how dangerous these crocodiles really are."
Whoever left the animal also included a note reading "call rescue," and identified the reptile as a Nile crocodile.
The reptile store in the area is a safe surrender site for animals whose owners can no longer care for them.
"But we normally get more common animals, like bearded dragons, iguanas, and pythons," said Abigail Kessler, a store employee. "A croc is unusual."
An animal control officer lassoed the reptile in the parking lot. The crocodile wasn't happy about returning to a cage, police said.
The crocodile was then turned over to California State Fish and Wildlife. Foy said the department believes the animal is indeed a rare Nile crocodile.
"It can grow to 15-, 16-, 20-foot type range," Foy said. "They can be enormous."
Owning a crocodile is illegal.
Fish and Wildlife officials said the animal will likely end up in a zoo, eventually.