The discovery of a crocodile on a suburban street in Melbourne’s north on Christmas night has left police and wildlife authorities scratching their heads.
Two people came across the one-metre-long reptile while walking in Heidelberg Heights about 8:30pm on Monday night.
It was “sitting quietly” on a footpath in the front yard of a business on Waiora Road, police said.
“I thought it might have been a statue that had been placed there but no, it turned out that it certainly moved nice and quickly a couple of times,” Acting Sergeant Daniel Elliott said.
“We’re running on the presumption that it was a pet at some stage, it’s a long way from any bodies of water so we don’t think it would be able to make its way there.”
While police were called to the scene, the officers decided to hand the case over to the experts and reptile catcher Mark Pelley came to help.
“I tried to cover its eyes but unfortunately it ran away straight into the bushes and in the direction of traffic, so I had to dive in the dark and try and grab it,” Mr Pelley said.
“The feisty little guy tried to bite me a couple of times unsuccessfully and I safely put him away in a box.”
Despite having been a professional snake catcher for more than six years, Mr Pelley said this was the first callout for a crocodile.
“It was good fun, it’s not what you expect for Christmas night,” he said.
Mr Pelley will look after the crocodile until staff from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning can collect it, or its owner is found.
Police initially said it was a saltwater crocodile but it later turned out to be of the freshwater variety.
It’s not known where it came from or how it ended up at the business, which was closed for Christmas.
Police said anyone missing a crocodile, or with information about its owner, should contact Crime Stoppers.