Surfers, swimmers and beachgoers are on alert after a “very large crocodile” was spotted in the water at a popular central Queensland beach on Thursday morning.
The Department of Environment says the crocodile, seen at Farnborough Beach, is estimated to be between 3.5 and 4 metres in length.
“It’s the biggest one we’ve seen on the coast here for a little while, but it’s not an unusual length for a crocodile,” wildlife operations manager Frank Mills said.
Mr Mills said the Department of Environment expected the crocodile was travelling towards the Fitzroy River and would be travelling past Yeppoon, through Emu Park, over the next “couple of days”.
“We urge everyone on the Capricorn Coast to keep an eye out and if they see a crocodile to report it but above all don’t get close to it or interact with it,” he said.
“This is a very large crocodile and is potentially very dangerous.”
Third sighting this week
The sighting at Farnborough Beach was the third crocodile sighting this week, Mr Mills said.
A statement from the Department of Environment said another smaller crocodile, about 2 metres long, was removed from a pond near the Emu Park State School this month after the sighting was reported.
Mr Mills said the sightings were a “timely reminder”.
“People here tend to be a little complacent about crocodiles … they do live in croc country and they should be taking the opportunity to report any crocodile sightings,” he said.
A need for more reporting
Mr Mills said the Department of Environment had “unfortunately” not received a direct report about the crocodile sighting at Farnborough Beach.
“This has been put on Facebook but it hasn’t actually been reported to us,” he said.
“First-hand accounts of what they actually saw and things that they may not think are important but are important to us … We use that information to ascertain as much as we can about the sizing and situation [of the crocodile] so that we can respond appropriately.”
Large scannable QR codes were installed around the Fitzroy River last month to allow the public to report sightings via the QWildlife app.
“If you do see a crocodile you can quickly report that and if you are out on the water it will actually report the location that you saw the animal,” Mr Mills said.
Anyone who spots a crocodile can also report the sighting by calling 1300 130 372.