A 4-foot crocodile was found wandering in a shopping plaza on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville Wednesday morning.
Roseville Police Department spokesperson Dee Dee Gunther said someone abandoned the animal in a container in front of the Serpentarium, a reptile specialty business. A note identified the animal as a Nile crocodile and that animal rescue should be called.
At some point, the crocodile got out of the container and started walking through the TJ Maxx Plaza on the 1800 block of Douglas Boulevard.
"It got out. It was roaming around. We had to call animal control," Serpentarium employee Abigail Kessler said.
The crocodile had duct tape around its snout.
"If some kid comes across it and decides to take the tape off the mouth to see what's gonna happen, now you have a loose crocodile that's probably annoyed and can probably attack someone playing with it or someone walking by," Roseville Police Sgt. Jason Bosworth said.
Gunther said animal control was called to the scene. Officers then lassoed the crocodile, placed it in a cage and turned it over to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Agency spokesperson Patrick Foy said even at just 4 feet, the crocodile could be a serious threat.
"This animal is dangerous right now. It's four feet long, it could very seriously injure or kill a child," Foy said.
It's illegal to possess a crocodile in the United States.
The fish and wildlife staff said the crocodile will likely be placed with an educational organization.