By Molly Fergus and Kelly Hwu, Condé Nast Traveler
You'd expect this in Florida or New Orleans, perhaps, but Chicago? Not so much: A passenger at O'Hare International Airport discovered a two-foot long alligator lurking beneath an escalator Friday morning. Police arrived quickly to whisk away the gator for some recovery time -- the poor thing's bones were weak from malnutrition -- but she's certainly not the first wild animal to make its way to an airport...
Turtles at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
Yum? In July, a man in China tried to smuggle a turtle through security by disguising it as a burger inside of a KFC sandwich box. An X-ray machine caught the critter, yet the man repeatedly denied he had a turtle when officers questioned him. The poor animal was wrapped inside a burger bun smeared with mayonnaise.
Baby Leopards, Panthers, Monkeys, and a Bear at Bangkok International Airport
In 2011, a man at Bangkok International Airport brought suitcases filled with baby leopards, panthers, monkeys, and a bear. Remarkably, he was caught because officials had been tracking him for illegal wildlife trafficking... not because it's really difficult to smuggle a bear through security.
Kittens at Miami International Airport
That must be some loud meowing. Airport officials called firefighters to Miami International Airport last month due to noise complaints. The squad's discovery: Three kittens in the ceiling. The cuties are now up for adoption.
Kangaroo at Melbourne Airport
After being hit by a car last month, an injured kangaroo hopped into the Melbourne Airport...and found its way to the terminal's pharmacy, of all places. Wildlife volunteers eventually tranquilized the distressed animal and safely captured it.
Spiders at Rio de Janeiro-Galeao International Airport
Customs officers discovered 1,000 live spiders inside a British pet shop owner's two suitcases in 2009 -- the largest wildlife seizure the airport had ever encountered. The smuggler faces up to a year in prison in addition to a $2.3 million fine.
See Also: Expert Tips for Traveling Solo
Hummingbirds at Rochambeau airport in Cayenne, French Guiana
This has got to hurt: In 2011, a Dutch passenger sewed more than a dozen humming birds into his underwear and tried to smuggle them onto a flight. Each tiny bird was individually wrapped in cloth, though their beaks were uncovered and the animals did not seem to be sedated.
Tropical Fish at Melbourne Airport
The hummingbird smuggler wasn't the first to sew animals into his clothes. In 2005, customs officials in Melbourne caught a woman who had sewn 51 live tropical fish into her skirt. She made it all the way from Singapore wearing a pocketed apron stocked with plastic bags filled with water.
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