YOU never know what you'll find by the side of the highway in tropical North Queensland.
RSPCA Mackay inspector David Ferrar has helped a 1.5m-long estuarine crocodile back into the water after it was discovered sunbathing by the side of the Bruce Hwy at Mt Ossa yesterday morning.
Surveying workers came across the animal and phoned Mackay Australian Wildlife Rescue, who then phoned Mr Ferrar.
"I was returning through Calen when I received the call from Australian Wildlife Rescue that there was possibly an injured crocodile," Mr Ferrar said.
Mr Ferrar then called Queensland Parks and Wildlife, who instructed him to use his "dog pole" - a long metal pole with a noose at the end - to guide the crocodile back into the water.
"It was all done humanely and properly," he said.
"It was the best thing we had in the middle of nowhere.
"I tightened the dog pole over its top snout and manoeuvred it steadily and gradually to the nearest waterhole."
Mr Ferrar said the crocodile then swam off and disappeared into the "murky depths".
But he said the croc didn't go without a fight.
"Its reaction time was good," Mr Ferrar said.
The Daily Mercury would love to publish a photo of the incident, but Mr Ferrar said he was too busy to stop and snap a picture.
He said it was a timely reminder for residents that crocodiles inhabit waterways of the Mackay region, including freshwater creeks.
"It was a good result given the circumstances," Mr Ferrar said.
"As an RSPCA inspector I never know what I'll come across.
"One day it's a sick cockatoo and tackling an estuarine crocodile the next."
The animal was not injured.