February 23, 2006
Northern Beaches police have been called to a waterway at Cromer after receiving reports a crocodile was sighted eating carp [Pestiferous vermin. Goodonya crockie!] in a natural spring in an industrial unit block on South Creek Road.
Australian Reptile Park operations manager Craig Adams, who saw the reptile last night, identified it as an estuarine crocodile, commonly known as a "saltie".
The species is responsible for all fatal crocodile attacks on humans in Australia and can grow to at least six metres. Mr Adams said "If I was going to speculate, I'd say a kid's chucked it in there who got it off a mate, who got it when he was up north and brought it home as a hatchling, held onto it for a while and then maybe (his) dad said, `look, you've gotta get rid of that'."
He said it would be a "wonderful attraction" for a northern beaches cafe. "(But) it just won't survive the winter unfortunately."
The small crocodile is believed to have spent several months at the natural spring, surviving on a plentiful supply of carp and managing to evade any attempts to catch it. The croc's digs are located at the front of an industrial unit block, and visible from the street.
Cromer cafe owner Silvano Morello, who first spotted the crocodile, was among dozens of people hoping for a glimpse of the eatery's newest neighbour today. Ms Morello said her friends thought she was mad or "had had too much to drink" when she first mentioned the sighting.
Schoolchildren squealed and mums and dads took photographs with cameras and mobile phones today as the reptile teased the crowd with brief moments above the water and on the bank.
Police working with Australian Reptile Park staff were unsuccessful in catching the crocodile last night, but will make another attempt tonight
Once captured, the reptile will be placed in a suitable animal park.