Oz’s Out-Of-Place Croc

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 21st, 2010

New reports are coming in of an out-of-place saltwater crocodile in Queensland, Australia. The above photo was taken, but officials are saying they are not so sure it is a croc. Humm. 

Senior director of the Department of Environment and Resource Management, Clive Cook, is reported as saying that it is “highly improbable” to find a crocodile as far south as Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The last confirmed sighting of a crocodile anywhere near the Gold Coast was in the Logan River in 1903 or 1905 when a three metre was shot, but we’ve never had a confirmed sighting since then.

We’ve had recent sighting reports, but each one of those have been followed up and never been substantiated as a confirmed sighting.

I’ve had a look at the photograph and I’ve had extensive experience in crocodile management.

When you look closely at the photograph it clearly is not a crocodile – I would be 99 per cent sure. ~ Director Clive Cook

A number of locals have reported seeing a large turtle or dugong in the same area this week, which at a distance bore a similarity to the shape in the photograph. Tourists spotted what they believed to be a saltwater crocodile hunting ducks in the Hope Island canal on Sunday.

Cook said the crocodile’s natural range was north of Gladstone. Crocodiles are generally accepted not to live much further south than the Boyne River near Gladstone, although last year there were sightings at Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. The Fraser Island sighting last year prompted authorities to erect a warning sign and spend tens of thousands of dollars in an unsuccessful bid to trap the 4m creature.

In conjunction with this new report, there is a good, new map of recent sightings (link below, list of incidents from the map):
Crocodile sightings in Queensland, Australia. Data based on EPA’s Croc Watch list, newspaper reports and historical records.
Wonga Beach
14 February 2009 2m crocodile sighted; then EPA investigated the sighting an erected a Recent Crocodile Sighting sign.
Burrum River
12 February 2009 Burrum River near Torbanlea 1.5–2m crocodile sighted near Burrum Bridge. EPA staff investigating.
Palm Cove
12 February 2009 2–2.5m crocodile sighted off beach. EPA erected recent sighting signs and carried out a night-time boat survey.
February 11, 2009: Mary River, Lamington Bridge, Maryborough. Sighting of apparent head and shoulders of a crocodile in debris in Mary River moving slower than current. EPA could not confirm sighting.
Boyne Island
February 11, 2009: Tarcoola Drive boat ramp, Boyne River, Boyne Island. Croc head about 0.8–1m long sighted upstream from boat ramp. Permanent crocodile warning sign in place.
3.3m croc shot in Mary River near Tiaro in 1964.
Logan River
1905: Large crocodile shot in Logan River. [This is the historically most southernly confirmed crocodile sighting, as this was a large crocodile shot in the Logan River, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in 1905.]
Forest Ck, Daintree R.
Fatal crocodile attack on five-year-old child.
Hay Point
February 6, 2009: 2.5m croc seen near boat ramp.
Fitzroy River
Feb 4, 2009: Two crocs, one 4.5m long, seen removing fish from a net at high tide.
Boyne River
February 3, 2009: 2m crocodile sighted.
November 10, 2008: 1.8m crocodile sighted in creek near beach. Sighting originally made in March last year. Unconfirmed.
November 12, 2008: 3m crocodile sighted in Mary River near Queens Park. Unconfirmed.
Kauri Creek
December 2, 2008: Crocodile sighted on small island in Kauri Creek. Unconfirmed.
Hervey Bay
November 17, 2008: Crocodile-like object (possibly dugong) sighted. Unconfirmed.
Baffle Creek QLD
October 2008: Sighting of 2.5m crocodile investigated by EPA. No sign of creature.
February 19, 2009: Freshwater crocodile (someone’s abandoned pet?) found.
Bundaberg QLD
February 19, 2009: Half-metre freshwater croc found. (Someone’s abandoned pet?)
Boyne Island
July 2008: Crabbers shocked to see crocodile nearby.
September 2008: Fisherman Stan Pappin sights crocodiles in Maaroom Creek.
Stewart Island
February 18 & 19: 4m crocodile reported circling boat near Stewart Island in the Sandy Straits (between Herevy Bay and Fraser Island)
Kin Kin
April 14, 2009: Crocodile sighted at Kin Kin after flooding in the area. EPA investigating.
March 29, 2009: 3m crocodile seen swimming about 35m from the beach. EPA erects recent sighting sign and monitors area daily but no further sightings. EPA said: “May have been a dugong as one was seen…
September 2003: Nine reported sightings of 2m crocodile in Noosa River. EPA (then known as National Parks and Wildlife) could not find any crocodile.
Hope Island QLD
January 2010: Tourist reports seeing crocodile 

Thanks to Chris Rehberg.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Oz’s Out-Of-Place Croc”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    Looks like a Croc to me. The scaling on the back LOOKS “crockish.”

    But then, what do I know??? I’m not an “Expert.” Sheesh.

    Would be great if that is what it is…:)

  2. Thy responds:

    I’m pretty sure there are historical reports of crocs wandering as far south as Coffs Harbour in NSW, though they would be unable to raise young this far south.

  3. David-Australia responds:

    “Bring me some more crocodile sightings – and make it snappy . . . !”

  4. dogu4 responds:

    Mabye it’s a sign that the crocs are expanding back to their original range.
    Most observed ranges of species are based upon historical records, though those historical records are pretty spotty and in many cases were never even started until well after early settlers, both indigenous and modern arrivals, had been living in that land, and presumably impacting it in ways that could have constrained the proliferation of species. In a slightly twisted example, to illustrate how our records have been interpreted, the passenger pigeon, though now extinct, is regularly considered to have been extraordinarily prolific across its range based on the early historic records of what we might call modern observers or naturalists. The very earliest transects through that same land recorded huge numbers of people (whose numbers were later decimated repeatedly by newly encountered diseases), and archaeological research into the middens of these now empty village sites show that in early days they ate a lot of wild animals, but as they matured they ate fewer and fewer. The presumption is that the indegenous people, when they werel well established and populous were constraining the proliferation of animal species that they would have naturally harvested to the best of their ability (notions of respect for the balance of nature, not withstanding). It was, afterall, well over 200 years between the first contact(DeSoto 1540) and the period when European settlers in general and modern naturalists in particular finally made it into the hinterland of eastern North America (Audubon 1810). That’s a long time for a species, released from its constraints to proliferate so much so they could overrun their range, and it appears passenger pigeons may have actually been doing that based on reports of their impacts in those groves where they habitually roosted.

  5. DWA responds:

    Regardless the photo: evidence indicates the possibility is there. (Regardless the 99% – and I know my animals – that photo is very inconclusive as to what that is.)

    Look at manatees on the US east coast. Salties range, too.

    The only mind to keep on this is an open one. As a matter of fact, Cook’s statement is incomprehensible to me, for a scientist. “Highly improbable” has happened too many times.

    Saying it is possible is not saying it happened, people! And there isn’t a scrap of anything on which to hang a probability assessment. Stick to science. (It’s much more fun than cynicism.) It could happen. You don’t have to acknowledge it as the truth to acknowledge that.

  6. Matthewcardier responds:

    Would be great if that is what it is. 🙂

    Cryptidsaurus, speak for yourself. 🙂 I live less than 100km away from there, and very close to the Brisbane River. A mate of mine a few years ago commented on the huge size of a water lizard he saw on the river near Citykat (river water ferry). I don’t know about crocs, but I know Bull Sharks are a problem in the Gold Coast canals.

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