Australia

Crocodile found walking Melbourne street on Christmas Day

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Media captionThis Christmas croc was found in a Melbourne suburb

Australian police are looking for the owner of a small crocodile found wandering the streets of Melbourne on Christmas Day.

Locals taking an evening stroll stumbled across the reptile outside a suburban business.

Victoria Police said they were initially sceptical and went to the scene expecting to find a large lizard.

Instead they found a 1m (3.2ft) long freshwater crocodile "sitting quietly on the footpath".

Snake catcher Mark Pelley was called on to handle the unusual Christmas find in the suburb of Heidelberg Heights.

He said police called him that night saying: "There's a crocodile walking the streets and it's currently outside a medical centre."

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Mr Pelley told local radio station 3AW he rushed to the scene where he found "five police members being stared down by a decent-sized crocodile, about three and a half foot, and the crocodile wouldn't back down".

Image copyright VICTORIA POLICE
Image caption The 1m (3.2ft) crocodile was found "walking the streets" of Melbourne on Christmas

The crocodile attempted to scamper off into the bushes but was caught by its tail and is now in the care of state wildlife authorities.

"We're running on the presumption that it was a pet at some stage, it's a long way from any bodies of water," Acting Sergeant Daniel Elliott said on Tuesday.

Pet owners in Victoria are allowed to keep crocodiles up to 2.5m in length.