Residents stunned as croc found in NSW backyard: 'Couldn't believe my eyes'

A crocodile keeper swooped in to rescue the reptile which was found just 100km from the centre of Sydney.

·2-min read

A resident on the NSW Central Coast got the fright of their lives on Sunday when they discovered a freshwater crocodile in the backyard of their home.

Pictures of the metre-long female reptile were shared by the Australian Reptile Park who swooped in to rescue the animal they believe was being kept as a pet at a nearby property before escaping.

Freshwater crocodiles are not native to the Central Coast region and are only found in northern parts of Australia. So spotting one in Umina came as a shock to many, including crocodile keeper Billy Collett.

"The female freshwater crocodile is one metre long, is estimated to be between 8-10 years old and appeared to be in good health", the Australian Reptile Park posted on Facebook after the surprising rescue.

Freshwater crocodile on pavement in backyard of Umina home on NSW Central Coast.
The female freshwater crocodile was found in the backyard of a home in Umina on the NSW Central Coast. Source: Australian Reptile Park

'I just couldn't believe my eyes'

Operations manager and crocodile keeper Mr Collett told the ABC people often call claiming to have seen a crocodile in their yard. Most of the time it's a water dragon or blue-tongue lizard, he said, except this time it was true.

"Freshies aren't regarded as being extremely dangerous but they can give you a really nasty bite," Mr Collett said. "I just couldn't believe my eyes — I'm looking at a crocodile here on the Central Coast in someone's backyard!"

Photos show the small but mighty croc on the pavement in the resident's backyard, brushed up alongside the fence, and while not as dangerous as their saltwater cousins, freshwater crocodiles can still be "unpredictable" and it's always "best to leave them to the experts" he told AAP.

The incident has allegedly been reported to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service as keeping the animal as a pet is against the law.

Billy Collett from Australia Reptile Park holding crocodile found in NSW backyard.
Billy Collett from Australia Reptile Park was shocked to find the reptile so far from her natural habitat. Source: Australia Reptile Park

"[In NSW] the only way you can have a croc is if you've got an exhibitor's licence or you're a wildlife park, like us," Mr Collett said, adding the penalties are severe.

The Australian Reptile Park is asking for the owner to come forward or contact relevant wildlife authorities.

Social media stunned by crocodile find

People who saw the post on Facebook were equally stunned by the find with many unable to believe a croc was spotted lurking in someone's yard. "Imagine finding that in your backyard," one person wrote.

Others shared their relief to know the reptile had been given "a safe home" at the nearby reptile park.

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