crocodile in fire truck Fire truck's passenger startled onlookers.

Tampico crocodile gives woman a start

But retrieving the animals is all in a day's work for firefighters

Finding a huge crocodile in her back yard yesterday gave a Tamaulipas resident the scare of her life.

When Vanesa Sánchez heard her dogs barking she went outside to investigate. There she encountered the three-meter-long crocodile feasting on a possum, just on the edge of her property.

“I was really scared, and with the help of some neighbors I was able to bring my dogs inside, in case it ate them next,” said the Tampico resident.

Firefighters soon arrived to remove the crocodile, estimated to weigh close to 140 kilograms, and loaded it into the back seat of a fire truck.

But the animal was so long its tail hung out the window, startling motorists and other passersby.

The crocodile was the 15th to be caught in Tampico so far this year. As rainfall increases, drainage culverts become accessible to the reptiles, which enter them and soon find themselves in the middle of the city.

Another recent case was on Sunday, when authorities received a report of a specimen that had decided to take a rest in the middle of a boulevard not far from a fairground.

After tying its legs and loading it on to a truck, the two-meter-long animal was transported to the Carpintero lagoon, a body of water located within the city limits.

Given the frequency of such incidents, the local fire department is prepared with special equipment to deal with crocodiles.

The fire chief explained that as many as 50 crocodiles are expected during the rainy season, of an estimated 80 that inhabit the urban lagoon.

“Our recommendation is the same as always,” said Juan García Hernández. “People should call us right away at the first sighting of a crocodile, because we are trained to handle them.”

Citizens should stay away from the animals as a precautionary measure, he added.

Source: El Sol de Tampico (sp), Milenio (sp)

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