Big caiman spooks shoppers at Puerto Rico mall (AP)

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Wed Jul 21, 7:47 pm ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Ricans at a shopping mall were spooked by an unlikely intruder — a more than 5-foot-long (1.5-meter) caiman. Ana Maria Ramos, spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources, said the big reptile was found Wednesday under a shopper’s car at an outlet mall in the town of Canovanas. It was captured and taken to a shelter.

No one was injured by the caiman, which is native to Central and South America.

Nonnative creatures have become a problem for Puerto Rico because of the U.S. island’s lush tropical climate and lack of predators. Several species of snakes, iguanas and caimans — imported for sale as pets, then released into the wild — flourish on the island.

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