LAUREL, Miss. (WHLT) – An alligator must really love that chicken from Popeyes!

Recent rainy weather may be the reason an alligator turned up at a Popeyes restaurant in Laurel on Monday, August 22.

City officials said restaurant staff noticed the unusual guest in the drive-thru lane. The three-foot gator turned up at the restaurant location on Leontyne Price Boulevard.

By the time an animal control officer showed up, the gator had taken cover under a pile of pallets next to the restaurant’s dumpster. The officer used a catch pole to secure it and put the gator in a dog box in the back of his truck.

The officer and a game warden with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) set the animal free outside city limits. The gator was not harmed while being relocated.

The city’s animal control supervisor said alligator sightings are becoming more common. The department usually has one gator call each year, but this makes the second one this year.

Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox said more critters may turn up as rainy weather continues. He advised neighbors to be aware of your surroundings, keep your pets on a leash and the leave it to animal control if you encounter a critter.