Mystery crocodile confounds Crete cops

Greek police have been left baffled by the mysterious appearance of a two-metre long crocodile spotted lounging near an artificial dam on the tourist island of Crete.

"Clearly crocodiles do not occur naturally here, so the owner probably wanted to get rid of it," a local police official told AFP Sunday.

The reptile -- which is about two metres or 6.5 foot long -- was sighted by a team of local fire officers who were on patrol near Rethymnon, on the north of the island.

Crocodiles are not native to Europe.

Two reptile experts from the Heraklion Natural History Museum are due to arrive on Monday to help capture the animal.

The official said that police were also planning on encircling the dam with a fence to protect those living nearby.

While the local police said there was no sense of panic in the region, the Athens Press Agency, Ana, said that the authorities have been concerned by rumours of the presence of a second crocodile.

The Crete crocodile is not the first to make an unexpected appearance in European waters. In 2001, fire officers in Austria were called to rescue a South American crocodile from the river Danube, which was later taken to Vienna's Schoenbrunn zoo.

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