VIDEO: Croc sighting thrills Rocky man
WHEN Derek Nel spotted a crocodile sunning itself on the banks of the Fitzroy River, he couldn't believe his eyes.
The 26-year-old Rockhampton man was driving across the Neville Hewitt Bridge on Monday around 5pm discussing the recent crocodile sightings in the river with his mother-in-law when, almost as if it's ears were burning, a crocodile appeared on the bank.
"Me and my mother and law were driving along the new bridge having a chat and I was literally just saying to her 'you always hear stories about people seeing crocodiles, but you never see them' and about two seconds later I said 'what's that on the bank there'," Derek said.
"We drove around to the little park (Queens Park) on the north side next to the bridge and we walked up to the bridge and sure enough there it was so I got my camera out and filmed it."
Derek said he moved to Rockhampton from Canada about 11 years ago and had never seen a crocodile in the wild before. He said it was a great experience.
"I had always heard people talk about seeing them, but to actually see one right there where people go fishing made it a bit surreal," he said.
"I go fishing in the river but I've never seen a crocodile there before; only at the Koorana Crocodile Farm and at the Rocky Zoo.
"It was about 2.5-3m long and was about 1m up the bank just sunning himself and then it looked like it was heading up towards the train bridge and barrage."
While the sighting was his first, Derek said it hadn't been his last.
"We drove past on Tuesday and it was back there but it wasn't there yesterday. I think the tide was too high," Derek said.
Derek's experience comes after multiple crocodile sightings in the Fitzroy River near the centre of town recently.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) wildlife officers scoured the Capricorn Country Club in December for a two-meter crocodile sighting lurking in Splitters Creek which borders the club.
EHP then set up a trap in the creek near the Larcombe St bridge which runs over the creek in a bid to catch and relocate the "crocodile of concern".
EHP are actively monitoring an area of the Fitzroy River after multiple reported crocodile sightings within 10 days.
Crocodile warning signs have been set up at access points to the Fitzory River including along Larcombe St and across the river at Ski Park, Wandal.