On Sunday afternoon, a shocking discovery was made in the backyard of a home on the Central Coast when a freshwater crocodile was found. The homeowner immediately contacted the Australian Reptile Park, and keepers were dispatched to the scene to capture the reptile.
Australian Reptile Park Operations Manager and veteran Crocodile Keeper, Billy Collett, was able to safely capture the crocodile and transport it back to the Park, where it received a full health evaluation.
According to Mr Collett, the female freshwater crocodile was approximately one metre long, is estimated to be between 8-10 years old and appeared to be in good health. However, it is believed that the crocodile was being kept illegally as a pet, as freshwater crocodiles are not native to the Central Coast region. The Park is asking for the owner to come forward or contact relevant wildlife authorities if the crocodile belongs to a licensed reptile keeper.
“We’re grateful to the homeowner for alerting us to the presence of the crocodile,” said Mr Collett. “Freshwater crocodiles may not be as dangerous as saltwater crocodiles, but they are still wild animals and can be unpredictable. It’s always best to leave them to the experts.
“I was incredibly shocked when we received call – freshwater crocodiles are usually found about 2,500km north of where we are here on the Central Coast. I honestly had to see it with my own eyes before I could believe it!
“We want to remind the public that keeping wild animals as pets is illegal and dangerous without a license,” added Mr Collett. “If you come across a crocodile or any other wild animal in your backyard that you think doesn’t belong there, please contact the authorities immediately. It’s important to let trained professionals handle these situations. Animals like the freshwater crocodile have very stringent licensing conditions to avoid them ending up in situations just like this one.
“The Australian Reptile Park is committed to the conservation and preservation of Australia’s unique wildlife, and urges the public to respect and appreciate these animals in their natural habitat,” Mr Collett concluded.
The Australian Reptile Park has reported the incident to National Parks & Wildlife, who will determine the next steps for the animal. For now, the crocodile is in safe hands with the Australian Reptile Park’s Reptile Team and will undergo a full veterinary examination today.