Imagine waking up early morning and opening the doors, only to find a giant crocodile in your verandah. That is exactly what happened to Shajan Thacheth, a resident staying near the Athirapally waterfalls in Kerala, on Wednesday morning.
According to reports, the family heard noises coming from the verandah at around 5am. When Shajan’s wife opened the front doors, she spotted the crocodile lingering near a sofa in the verandah. Seeing the aquatic reptile, Shajan’s wife immediately alerted the entire household. Neighbours rushed to Shajan’s house on hearing the commotion and tried to scare away the reptile but to no avail. Seeing the people, the crocodile became agitated. In the meantime, forest officials were rushed to site on being alerted of the situation.
After three hours of struggle, forest officials along with the locals captured the crocodile. Initially, they released the reptile at Chalakkudy Lake, but the reptile was not moving towards the river. Seeing this, the forest officials carefully transported the crocodile and released it near the waterfalls.
Dr Eluvathingal Antony Jayson, scientist and HOD at Kerala Forest Research Institute, said that crocodiles in Kerala have only two natural habitats and will venture into nearby areas in search of prey. “There are only two natural habitats of crocodiles in Kerala. One is Athirapally and the other is Parambikulam. In the last two to three years, these crocodiles have come up to Karavannur River in Thrissur, searching for prey,” Dr Jayson said. He added that there is a high possibility that these crocodiles can enter nearby homes in search of prey. "Similar incidents have been studied in Neyyar as well," Dr Jayson said.
He added that people residing in these regions must look out for such animals at all times. “There is a big problem that people living in such areas will face. When these crocodiles are small, they will look to feed on domestic prey like dogs, fowls, etc. However, when they grow big (more than 3 metres) they will look for bigger meat in the form of mammal animals,” Dr Jayson said.