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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."

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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.

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