The 3-and-a-half foot gator was found at the Redners Market at 88 Scarlet Circle in Dover, Delaware on Thursday afternoon.
A Department of Natural Resources spokesperson said the alligator was found heavily covered in mud, and may have been hibernating in the area all winter.
Sgt. Greg Rhodes of the DNR said this type of thing is happening more often as people take in an alligator as a pet and abandon it after discovering they can't handle it or find out owning an alligator is illegal in Delaware.
Hillary Taylor, of the wildlife rehabilitation center in Bear where the gator is being cared for, said she took in four alligators last summer.
She said it is hard to determine how old the alligator is.