‘Massive’ crocodile found on the loose in Fitzroy Crossing after WA floods

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Kimberley residents spent a sleepless night trying to catch a large crocodile that emerged from the floodwaters and was found on the streets of Fitzroy Crossing, close to homes.

The 3-meter-long animal was found at 02:00 on Thursday by a resident of the flood-ravaged town in Western Australia.

Jasmine Bedford was one of the first on the scene.

“I was excited and surprised. It was a freshwater crocodile, but it was huge,” she said.

“My first feeling was ‘we need to get this crocodile back to the river’ because it was in the middle of the city.”

Police officers, shire rangers and local Aboriginal rangers arrived on the scene and used whatever equipment they had on hand to try and wring the reptile.

‘Strange pedestrian on Flynn Drive’

“My cousin was walking home from hospital at around 2am, she was busily walking looking on her phone, and she looked up and saw a huge crocodile on the footpath,” said Ms Bedford.

“She screamed and said a few French words because she was so scared.

“I called the police and told them there’s a strange pedestrian here on Flynn Drive.

“When the police arrived, I joked with them and said, ‘Hey, do you have big enough handcuffs?’.”

After several hours of amateur bickering, the crocodile was returned to the Fitzroy River. (Supplied: Jasmine Bedford)

“There were about six cars surrounding this one crocodile.

“It looked like it was well fed so there were also jokes about hopefully no one lost their dog but look closely because I know that’s not a joke.

“There was a lot of jumping and freaking out, because he caught you unexpectedly and came out with a hiss or a growl. It was so funny.”

For several hours they improvised a risky catch.

At one point, a police officer threw a towel over the animal’s head to restrain it.

A large crocodile sitting on a footpath.
This photo shows the size of the crocodile that roamed the streets of Fitzroy Crossing. (Supplied: Jasmine Bedford)

Equipment was also used to catch stray dogs, but the sleek Frisie was able to slip away.

Mrs Bedford said the scene was both amusing and scary.

“It was really funny, there were times when people were running through the streets. When the crocodile started thrashing about, my two kids sprinted off and came back laughing.

“We were youtube ‘how to catch a crocodile’ because we weren’t sure what to do.

“It was all quite entertaining in the end, especially now that we know the crocodile made it home safely.”

The crocodile was returned to the flooded Fitzroy River just after dawn.

A standing woman with three children.
Fitzroy Crossing resident Jasmine Bedford (left) with her son Tarique, cousin Geneva Bedford and daughter Tyeisha. (Supplied: Jasmine Bedford)

Saltwater crocodiles – which are larger and more aggressive – are usually moved to a crocodile park if they are free to roam.

But it was deemed best that the wandering freshwater crocodile be returned to the local waterway.

Last drama for exhausted city

The Shocking Crocodile is the latest drama for the flood-ravaged Fitzroy Crossing community.

It has been three weeks since record-breaking flooding swept through the streets, destroying about 30 homes and forcing hundreds of residents to be evacuated.

A top-down view of extensive flooding across fields
The record-breaking floods that swept through the remote Kimberley region this month made headlines around the world.(ABC News: Erin Parke)

With cleanups and repairs just getting started, numerous health hazards associated with mosquito swarms, mold, and rotting cattle carcasses are emerging.

Ms Bedford said they would add crocodile visits to the long list of risks.

“In most wet seasons there are small crocodiles coming out of the water, but with these floods we expect more,” she said.

An aerial view of a damaged bridge over a river
A mission to assess damage to the important Fitzroy River bridge was delayed due to the possibility of crocodiles in the water.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“There was a good sense of community involved – everyone turned out to help get this crocodile to safety.”

“Everyone should be very proud…from the police officers who had just arrived in the Kimberley, to the locals who have a little bit of experience with crocodiles jumping in.”

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