Reggie, the alligator who eluded trappers for nearly two years at an urban lake, managed to escape Wednesday from his new home at the Los Angeles Zoo, climbing a mesh-covered wall of his exhibit and crawling several hundred yards (meters).

Keepers reported the 7 1/2-foot (2.3-meter) alligator missing from his personal exhibit pond at around 7:30 a.m.

Reggie finally was found near a loading dock shortly before the zoo's 10 a.m. opening time, spokesman Jason Jacobs said.

"They're very good climbers. Alligators are superbly adapted," Jacobs said. "It proves to us that he's a very smart, healthy gator."

Reggie was placed in quarantine while a mesh overhang was added to his exhibit to prevent another escape. He was expected to be returned to the display later Wednesday.

It took two years for Reggie to be captured in a nearby urban lake, where authorities say a man who illegally raised him as a pet dumped him when he got too big.

After several attempts, Reggie finally was captured in May. He was introduced to the public at his own zoo habitat last Thursday.