Saturday 20 January 2018

Heat's on to find the Costa Croc basking in the sun

Fiona Govan Madrid

POLICE on the Costa del Sol are searching for a seven-foot reptile, believed to be an alligator, spotted in waterways near the popular tourist resort of Mijas.

The fugitive, termed the Costa Croc, was first sighted last month near a golf course east of Marbella.

This week officers from Seprona, a civil guard nature protection unit, confirmed the presence of the reptile after finding its footprints in undergrowth beside the Majada Vieja, an area of man-made lakes just inland from the coast.

Officials posted red danger signs across the zone, a popular walking spot bordering the private golf course, warning: "Grave danger. Crocodile on the loose." Police motorcycle units are now patrolling the area in the hope of locating the animal as it basks in the sun.

Enrique Prieto, manager of the Crocodile Park in nearby Torremolinos, was called in to help identify the fugitive.

He said the tracks had been most likely made by an alligator aged between 12 and 18 years that had probably been released into the wild by an exotic pet collector after growing too big. Mr Prieto said: "It is unlikely to pose a danger to humans now unless they stumble across it in undergrowth. At this time of year its metabolism slows in the cold and it has no need to feed."

Despite warning signs, visitors have flocked to the area in the hope of spotting the giant reptile. Mario Calvente, a gardener, was the first to report seeing Costa Croc.

He said: "It had a big snout and small eyes on top of its head. I didn't want to hang around." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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