Staff at a remote roadhouse have used an oven mitt to catch and remove a baby crocodile found hiding in a doorway near Broome, in Western Australia’s Kimberley.
Maintenance worker Paul Marshall found the reptile on New Year’s Day while blowing leaves off the veranda at the Willare Roadhouse, 50 kilometres south of Derby.
“I was doing my daily job of blowing the leaves away from the building, and was blowing by the kitchen door and there he was,” he said.
“I was surprised because the Fitzroy River, where he would have come from, is a fair way away.”
The roadhouse, located on the Great Northern Highway, is about one kilometre from the river.
He said while the small animal was initially unhappy to be found, an oven mitt made handling it a smoother process.
“The croc was pretty snappy at the start, so I was a bit worried about getting a bite, so I went and got an oven glove to pick him up,” he said.
Mr Marshall was able to scoop the animal up and return it to the Fitzroy River, which has swelled after Tropical Cyclone Hilda dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain in the river catchment in the days after Christmas.
“It was the first one I’ve seen up close,” Mr Marshall said.
“But our boss has been at the roadhouse for a while, and she says they get a couple of crocodiles in the swimming pool every now and then during the wet season.”
The Fitzroy River is known for its large and sometimes aggressive saltwater crocodiles, which in the past have snatched and eaten pet dogs.