PEKAN: A 4.5 metre-long crocodile, which was spotted along Pantai Air Leleh here on Saturday, could have been avoiding the increasingly warm water or moving to a new habitat.

State Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Ahmad Azahar Mohammed said the 380kg estuarine crocodile, or buaya tembaga in Malay, was spotted numerous times nearby an estuary not far from the beach.

Speaking to the New Straits Times on Saturday, Azahar said the crocodile could have moved further inland due to various reasons, including the need to look for another swampy area in the vicinity.

“It could be the change in water temperature, its original habitat could be under threat or there could be a power struggle among younger male crocodiles, which forced this one to be pushed out,” he said, adding that the crocodile is approximately 25 years old.

“Estuarine crocodiles can occupy both the river and sea, and the reptile would only go up to shore in certain cases. This is the first such case in Pahang this year,” he added.

A team of Perhilitan rangers and firemen, he said, took four hours to capture the animal before sending it to Paya Indah Wetlands in Selangor.

Azahar reminded villagers to immediately contact the authorities if they found more crocodiles in the area.

On Saturday, villagers near Tanjung Gosong here had the shock of their lives when they spotted the crocodile near some bushes at Pantai Air Leleh about 11am.

Despite appearing aggressive, firemen managed to tie up the reptile before handing it to Perhilitan.

In July, Perhilitan captured a 3 metre-long estuarine crocodile in Kampung Ubai, Kuantan after it was spotted by the side of an irrigation canal.

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A 4.5 metre-long crocodile, which was spotted along Pantai Air Leleh here on Saturday, could have been avoiding the increasingly warm water or moving to a new habitat. (pix by MOHD RAFI MAMAT)