Fill ‘er up: What happened when a crocodile wandered into a petrol station

It sounds like the start of a bad joke. But when a crocodile walked into a service station it was no laughing matter for locals.

Mar 22, 2024, updated Mar 22, 2024
A proposed crocodile farm near Darwin aims to house up to 50,000 saltwater crocodiles. Photo: ABC

A proposed crocodile farm near Darwin aims to house up to 50,000 saltwater crocodiles. Photo: ABC

The snappy customer was spotted wandering into the north Queensland business on Tuesday night.

Police received the unusual call from surprised locals about the 1.4m freshwater crocodile’s arrival at the Townsville service station after 7pm.

Senior wildlife officer Tony Frisby soon arrived to snap up the roaming reptile.

Local wags no doubt suggested the croc wanted a Gatorade.

But Mr Frisby said the freshie’s motives were a mystery.

“We do not know why the freshwater crocodile entered the service station,” he said.

“But with recent heavy rainfall, crocodiles of all sizes and species are on the move.”

Mr Frisby said freshwater crocs were usually timid and not considered dangerous.

But he said the recent sighting was no joke.

“A crocodile walking into a service station is a reminder that Townsville is Croc Country and people should be Crocwise at all times,” Mr Frisby said.

“Freshwater crocodiles are timid and will usually flee at the first sight of people approaching.

“But they will act defensively if they feel cornered or threatened and people should observe them from a distance.”

The freshie was taken to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation’s facility in Townsville where it was placed into a secure pond.

Wildlife officers monitored the croc and found it was in a healthy condition, releasing the reptile into a suitable habitat at the nearby Ross River.

People are reminded to report all crocodile sightings to the department.

“Crocodiles can turn up in unexpected places during the warmer months as they move around looking for food, a mate and territory,” Mr Frisby said.

“They can also seek higher ground or calmer waters during periods of heavy rain.”

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