A meter-long crocodile appears in Central Coast’s backyard — thousands of miles away from the creature’s natural habitat — sparking a public outcry and leaving experts stunned: ‘I can’t believe it’
- Three-foot crocodile found in NSW backyard
- Crocodile Catcher thinks it’s an unleashed pet
- Brought to reptile park while owner sought
A horrified homeowner discovered a three-foot-long crocodile in his backyard in a sleepy town thousands of miles south of the creature’s natural habitat.
The female freshwater crocodile was found minding her own business at a beachfront property in Umina on the New South Wales Central Coast.
Billy Collett, an employee of the Australian Reptile Park, quickly arrived at the unwanted visitor.
“I can’t believe it,” he said, holding up the reptile.
‘Freshies’, as they are commonly known, are mainly found in the rivers and marshes in the Top End of Australia with Rockhampton, which is over 600 km north of Brisbane, furthest south where the heat-loving reptiles live in the wild. are found.
Crocodile keeper Billy Collett holds a young freshwater crocodile that was caught in a suburban backyard in Umina, New South Wales
Mr Corbett believes the crocodile, estimated to be eight to 10 years old, was a pet that had been abandoned or escaped.
“She would have been caught somewhere in the north of Australia as a little baby and whoever had her would have brought her and thought it was a good idea to keep her on the Central Coast,” he said.
However, Mr Corbett admitted that the animal was in very good condition.
“We’ll put him in one of our indoor enclosures where she’ll be heated and we’ll try to feed her as soon as possible while we try to figure out what to do with this guy.”
It is illegal to keep crocodiles as pets in NSW without a permit.
“It’s really important that people don’t go down the path of keeping these kinds of animals, especially with crocodiles they grow and they get really big and for most people they can’t handle having something like that in the house,” Mr Corbett said.
Female saltwater crocodiles can grow up to two meters in height, while males can grow up to half a metre.
Judging by the length of the reptile, the saltwater crocodile was about eight to ten years old
While Mr Corbett said that unlike their larger and more square-jawed cousins in saltwater, humans are “definitely not on the menu” for freshwater crocodiles, but they can still be dangerous.
“Fresh can still give you a very nasty bite, so I have to be careful with him,” Mr Corbett said.
“They have very sharp teeth and a lot.”
The Australian Reptile Park issued a call for the owner to come forward and ‘contact the relevant conservation authorities if the crocodile belongs to a licensed reptile keeper’.
If no one claims ownership, the park will consult with NSW Parks and Wildlife about what to do with the distant reptile.