Police whisked 2-foot-long Allie the alligator into a box after it was spotted under an escalator at O'Hare International Airport on Friday morning.
A maintenance worker saw the animal in the lower level of Terminal 3, Chicago police Officer Hector Alfaro said. The unexpected trespasser was later transferred into the care of the Chicago Herpetological Society.
By Sunday, Allie, an American alligator about 3 years old, was still "in distress" from Friday's incident and was suffering from a metabolic bone deficiency, which likely means its diet was poor and lacked calcium for some time, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Herpetological Society.
The spokesman said a traveler going down an escalator spotted the "very lethargic" gator and grabbed an O'Hare custodian, who called police about 10 a.m. Friday.
The police contacted the society to help with the removal of the animal, he said, adding that officers, who named it Allie, used a broom to whisk the gator into a box. The alligator was taken to an undisclosed location under the care of the society.
Allie "needs time to recover" from the jarring experience of lying on the cold concrete floor of O'Hare after likely being "dumped" there, the spokesman said.
Considered a "juvenile," Allie is small for its age. Its gender was not immediately known.
Alligators normally live in warm climates and can have the same life expectancy as humans, the spokesman said. Sometimes owners don't realize how long they can live or big they can get, and neglect their health needs.
The alligator will be kept in quarantine until its health improves, when it will be moved to a more suitable environment, the spokesman said.
(c)2013 the Chicago Tribune
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Original headline: Alligator found at O'Hare
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