It came as a shock to members of a Pietermaritzburg family when they spotted a metre long crocodile in the enclosed tiled courtyard of their Mountain Rise home on Saturday.
A family member, who asked that they not be named in the media, said they live in a double-storey duplex and her 16-year-old son was in the shower upstairs when he looked out of the window and spotted the reptile lying in the courtyard on Saturday morning.
“He couldn’t believe his eyes. He was screaming to us to look what was outside. When we looked out we also couldn’t believe it,” the woman said.
She said the crocodile was not moving but lying “blinking its eyes”.
She initially called the SPCA and subsequently local snake and reptile expert, Dean Boswell, came out to capture the crocodile.
The woman said they have absolutely no idea how the reptile came to be in their complex which is completely enclosed with only one gate. She said however people in the area had later reported that a crocodile had been seen in a road nearby about a week earlier.
She described the crocodile as “aggressive” when caught saying it had made a hissing sound that made the hair stand up on her neck.
Dean Boswell told The Witness that he had gone to the complex half expecting to find a Water Monitor rather than a crocodile as people sometimes got these reptiles confused.
“When I saw it was actually a crocodile I was a bit shocked,” he said.
He said fortunately he came prepared for any situation. He used a cloth to cover the young crocodiles eyes. “Once its eyes were covered so it could not see me I jumped on it, and grabbed it. It thrashed around a bit but fortunately it was young and I was able to hold on.”
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He said he held the jaws closed while a family member wrapped electrical tape around the snout to keep the jaws closed.
Crocodiles, even young ones, can inflict a nasty bite with their razor sharp teeth.
Boswell, who also reported finding the crocodile to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, took the reptile to KZN FreeMe at Howick where it was released into a grassy enclosure with a pool of water.
It will be returned to the wild.
Boswell said he has no idea how the crocodile got to the complex which is far from any water source. But said he believes someone must have caught it somewhere in the Dusi or at Albert Falls perhaps and taken it home for a few days before it had escaped. “It appeared a little dehydrated and was quite lean but did not seem to be in bad shape,” he added.