ROCKFORD (WIFR)-- A surprising visitor wound up at Winnebago County Animal Control over the weekend and vets say it's the first of it's kind to visit in years.
A kid found Albert the alligator near a boat landing on the rock river in South Beloit over the weekend.
The one-and-a-half foot reptile will spend a couple more days with animal control before being transferred to the Chicago Herpetological Society.
Vets say Albert was lucky to be found alive in the cold temperatures.
"It's really unusual...especially this time of the year. You know alligators and crocodiles are cold blooded animals so when they're out in this type of temperature, they really slow down and get sluggish they can survive for awhile but not very long."
Once fully recovered, Albert will be used to help educate groups about alligators. Experts say he'll be six to eight feet long when fully grown.
Animal Control believes that the alligator was a pet, but it is illegal to have a pet alligator in the state of Illinois.