A crocodile believed to be between 4m and 5m long has been regularly sighted with residents nervous about using the beach for recreation and fishing. PHOTO: Damian Duffy
A crocodile believed to be between 4m and 5m long has been regularly sighted with residents nervous about using the beach for recreation and fishing. PHOTO: Damian Duffy

Beach empty as croc caught on camera by drone

COW Bay residents are steering clear of their Daintree beach after repeated sightings of a large crocodile lurking in the water.

A crocodile believed to be between 4m and 5m long has been regularly sighted with residents nervous about using the beach for recreation and fishing.

Earlier this week Port Douglas photographer Stephen Nutt used a drone to take a photograph of the predator lying in about 1m of water at high tide.

Mr Nutt and his son Reuben warned an unaware boat owner not to launch his vessel.

Earlier, Mr Nutt had warned a man walking on the beach of the reptile which was apparently interested in him.

The man had walked across the small creek, also unaware of the animal.

Mr Nutt said he phoned the Department of Environment and Heritage hotline to report the sighting.

"The ranger asked: 'Is that a beach where many people go?'," he said.

Cow Bay beach has a big carpark and other visitor amenities and is a popular spot for residents and visitors.

When Mr Nutt first saw the crocodile it was 5-10m offshore.

At the northern end of the beach he launched a drone and took photos and video footage.

He kept it at a considerable altitude but at one stage the croc seemed to be aware of it and moved back to a slightly deeper point where there was a submerged reef.

"He didn't seem to move anywhere in a big hurry," Mr Nutt said.

The man with the boat left and Mr Nutt then moved closer to the shore himself and put his arms in the air.

The next piece of footage showed the crocodile turning to face him.

"I couldn't see him at all. He was on the bottom, but somehow he knew exactly where I was.

"At that point he was a good 20m off the shore.

"His nose was pointing directly at me back on the beach - which was pretty amazing.

"It shows that these creatures have incredible eyesight, or whatever it is ...

"There were no other people on the beach and he only turned back to me when he saw me move closer to the water."

A Department of Environment and Science spokeswoman said wildlife officers were investigating and a spotlight survey was planned.

She said on Monday there were three reports of a large crocodile sighting as well as other earlier reports, including one of a large reptile coming within 10m of a boat on January 9.



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