DO NOT SWIM: Crocodile sightings at local beach
A WARNING sign has been put up at Shingley Beach following reports of a "large" crocodile sighting yesterday.
Whitsunday Regional Council officers erected the sign the same day to deter swimmers after a member of the community spotted the animal on rocks at the southern end of Abell Point Marina about 11am.
The crocodile was estimated to be about 2-2.5 metres long.
Witnesses reported people fishing at the water's edge and dogs swimming at the beach within one hour of the sighting.
A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said wildlife officers would conduct a site assessment during the week, starting today.
The sighting is the second reported in nearly three weeks after a crocodile was spotted swimming offshore of Pigeon Island towards Abell Point Marina on February 27.
Proserpine River crocodile guide Mark Norman said crocodiles were usually transient at this time of year and it wasn't unusual for sightings to become more common.
"This is nothing unusual. It always happens, has happened forever and always will happen. It's breeding season, the water's still warm and there's still crocs moving along the coastline," he said.
"Crocodiles are quite transient at this time of year. They're pretty wary of a lot of human activity and won't generally stay in a busy spot."
Mr Norman said during breeding season, from about September through to March, the animals would normally pass through the area.
"I think people just have to keep their eyes open. There's a warning sign up, that's fine, it makes people aware," he said.
"If a croc does start to hang around a particular spot and it becomes an issue of public safety, than the appropriate authorities will move it to another location.
"But in these situations, they're normally just passing by."
The department's "crocwise" tips:
- Expect crocodiles in all northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign.
- Obey all warning signs - they are there to keep you safe.
- Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night.
- Stay well away from croc traps - that includes fishing and boating.
- The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks.
- Stand back from the water's edge when fishing and don't wade in to retrieve a lure.
- Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water.
- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp.
- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs.
- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead.
- Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in Croc Country.
- Report all croc sightings to the department by calling 1300 130 372.