The alligator that was found crawling around an escalator at Chicago's O'Hare Airport last week is recovering at an area wildlife center because officials say its owners didn't feed it properly and stunted its growth.
The alligator, dubbed "Allie," was first spotted Friday by Tineka Walker, a security officer in Terminal 3 at O'Hare. At only about 24-inches long, the reptile was too small to activate the airport's automatic doors, so Walker suspects a passenger may have attempted to bring it through security.
"They probably realized they couldn't take it through the checkpoint, and just let him go, but oh my God," Walker told CBS News.
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Airport personnel immediately called the Chicago Herpetological Society, which dispatched animal control officers to come pick up the 3-year-old gator.
"It was in pretty bad shape," CHS president Jason Hood told reporters. "We're trying to get it healthy and find a place for it."
Hood said the alligator suffers from a metabolic bone deficiency, which means that it wasn't being fed properly. It's illegal in Illinois to keep an alligator as a pet, and police are investigating the matter.
Officials stumbled across a photo posted on Twitter Friday, which showed a man on an O'Hare-bound Blue Line train. He was holding an alligator that looked about the same size as Allie, with similar markings.
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