Escaped pet crocodile crosses five-lane road, interrupts children’s soccer

Darwin soccer juniors with the runaway crocodile they named "Cutie Pie".

Darwin soccer juniors with the runaway crocodile they named "Cutie Pie". Photo: Supplied/ABC

Why did the crocodile cross the road?

A baby saltwater crocodile that had escaped from its owner dodged traffic as it crossed a five-lane major road in Darwin, ending up under the football stadium’s grandstand where it was discovered by a group of children taking part in a junior soccer clinic.

Kids as young as eight were having lunch and playing by the grandstand when they stumbled across the 40-centimetre saltie.

Wesley de Kruijf was watching his daughter at the clinic when the crocodile was found.

“One of the kids yelled out, ‘crocodile!'” he said.

“We were having a look and one of the [soccer] balls rolled over and the mouth goes open.

Saltwater crocodile at a soccer clinic

An escaped pet saltwater crocodile interrupted a soccer clinic in Darwin. Photo: Supplied/ABC

“We then just basically moved all the children away.”

Territory Parks and Wildlife Service was called to catch the rogue reptile, nabbing it by hand and tying its jaws shut with a hair tie.

Elijza van Duijne de Kruijf, 8, said it was the best soccer clinic she had ever been to.

“Some people made up a name for [the croc]: ‘Cutie Pie’,” she said.

“We got to hold and pat it.

“The people [rangers] said the mother might be close by so we got all the kids to move away.”

Croc ‘a bit cranky’ after thwarted escape from owner

Territory Parks and Wildlife rangers determined that the crocodile was a pet – named Barry – who lived across the busy McMillans Road opposite the stadium.

Owner Breanna Crooke had had him for two weeks after buying him from Crocodylus Park, which set aside about 100 baby salt and freshwater crocodiles to sell half-price as pets for Christmas presents.

Barry the crocodile

Barry the saltwater crocodile, held by his owner Breanna. Photo: ABC

Barry was feeling “a bit cranky” after his adventure, she said.

“We put him in a pond and somehow he managed to climb out and somehow cross McMillans Road,” she said.

“We’ve been keeping him overnight in the bathtub because we don’t have a cage over the pond at the moment; dad’s building a cage over the top so he doesn’t escape.”

Ms Crooke said Barry wasn’t the most genial of pets.

“He’s not the happiest crocodile, he hisses at you all the time,” she said.


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