Wildlife officials planned to release an alligator back into the wild Thursday after the animal was found at a Carteret County business.
A customer found the gator at Redfearn's Nursery, along Hwy. 24 in Cedar Point, at 8 a.m., according to the nursery's owner Judy Redfearn.
When Redfearn saw it, she "screamed."
Robbie Norville, a state wildlife biologist, estimated the gator to be 8 feet long.
He and a crew taped the gator's jaw shut after pacifying the animal with a wire around its neck.
Norville believes the alligator was on its way to a winter den.
"He probably thought he was camouflaged" among the plants, Norville said.
After word spread about the gator's presence, at least a dozen people stopped at the business to snap a picture.
No one was hurt.
Norville planned to release the gator into the White Oak River.