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Experts urge calm over croc sighting

AAP logoAAP 4/01/2017 Stuart Layt

Crocodile experts say a sighting of a crocodile in the Coolum River on the Sunshine Coast might be credible, but are nothing to worry about.

Fourteen-year-old Alex Ranson reported seeing a two-metre crocodile on a boat ramp on Monday, which then slipped into the water and swam off.

Dr Hamish Campbell from Charles Darwin University said it wasn't outside the range of possibility for crocodiles to be sighted on the Sunshine Coast, but it would be an anomaly.

"We get Antarctic penguins washing up on the coast of Tasmania, so animals do get pushed out of their range, it's an anomaly that would have been pushed south," Dr Campbell told AAP.

"It's very far south of their range, so before everyone rushed out and tried to catch the thing it'd be good to have another confirmed sighting."

Dr Campbell said even if a crocodile had ended up in the Coolum River, it may not stay there for long.

"It's just not ideal habitat for them. Particularly in the summer time now it's quite warm but in the winter I doubt they'd even survive."

It comes as a fisherman in the area claims the animal isn't a crocodile at all, but a large lace monitor lizard.

Lace monitors, a type of goanna, can sometimes reach two metres in size, and local fisherman Scott Noble has provided The Courier-Mail with an image of a large lizard clinging to a tree in the area this week.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is investigating the Coolum Creek sighting and says if it finds the animal it will be removed.

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