Warning for dog walkers as croc spotted on popular trail: 'Be aware'

Dog walkers have been warned of the danger involved with taking their pet to a popular Queensland walking trail.

Dog owners have been warned to be extra vigilant while walking their pets on a popular nature trail after a well-hidden crocodile was spotted among the bush on Sunday morning.

The reptile, described as being two-metres long, was spotted near a road intersection along the Mowbray River in Queensland, situated 10 minutes away from Port Douglas. An image captured from the road shows how well-camouflaged the crocodile was by its environment as it stood on a log in a body of water.

The crocodile is barely from the roadside, walking on a log by a swamp area.
The crocodile was barely visible from the roadside as it walked across a swamp area nearby. Source: Facebook

"Just a heads up for anyone walking their dog up in the Mowbray River area," the post read online. "I’m not trying to scare anyone, just letting people know."

Sighting in the heart of Croc Country

Mowbray River is in the depths of 'croc country' — an area in Far North Queensland renowned for crocodile activity where no waterway is considered crocodile free.

"The Mowbray River in Far North Queensland is within well-known croc country and everyone who is in this area should be aware that crocodiles may be seen in or near waterways at any time," a Department of Environment and Science (DES) spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia. "We do not relocate crocodiles in the wild as they have a strong tendency to return to their place of capture."

Many online teased the walker, who appears to be a visitor from Victoria, for his warning, however, others were grateful for his post. "Don't go and walk there. It's their territory," one woman warned, while another said, "Thank you for the warning".

There are two species of crocodiles found in Australia, easily categorised as either saltwater and freshwater. Saltwater crocodiles (also known as Estuarine) are the largest of all living reptiles and grow between three and five metres in length, according to the Australian Museum.

There are between 20,000 to 30,000 saltwater crocodiles in Queensland, with the animal listed as vulnerable after they were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1970s, The Guardian reports.

A saltwater crocodile can be seen coming out of the water onto an embankment.
Saltwater crocodiles can grow up to five metres in length and don't discriminate when it comes to prey. Source: Getty

They prey on just about any animal they can catch and overpower. Attacks on dogs are not uncommon, with a pet dog recently killed by a saltwater crocodile at Napranum Beach in Far North Queensland.

DES say it is "up to everyone" to make sensible choices in the area, advising people to be 'crocwise' by following these steps:

  1. Stay at least 5m from the water’s edge. Crocodiles often hunt their prey at the water’s edge.

  2. Dispose of your food and fish scraps in a bin or take them home. Crocodiles are attracted by an easy meal, so make sure you take your food, fish scraps and bait away from the water, camp site and boat ramp. Any scraps left in these areas puts future visitors to the area at risk.

  3. Keep your pets on a lead and away from the water’s edge. Animals, and dogs in particular, are attractive prey to crocodiles.

  4. Avoid using small watercraft such as kayaks and paddleboards. The smaller the vessel, the greater the risk—crocodiles have taken people from small vessels.

  5. Stay well away from crocodile traps. Crocodile traps are designed to attract hungry crocodiles so avoid fishing and boating near them and never interfere with them. People who deliberately interfere with the operation of crocodile traps face potential penalties of over $15,000.

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