Runaway Crocodile on the Loose in Germany

An escaped crocodile is scaring swimmers in a German lake.

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What is it with animals going AWOL in Germany? First there was Yvonne the Cow, who escaped the slaughterhouse — and gained Internet fame — by hiding out in the forest for months. Now, there’s a small runaway crocodile that’s popped up in a popular swimming lake in Bavaria.

Okay, so it isn’t exactly Jaws. But there have been some scary encounters with the rogue croc, nonetheless. One woman who was taking a dip in the lake on July 1 had a run-in with the reptile that left her with a 2.75 inch scratch.

“The woman said she was swimming to retrieve her air mattress, which had drifted off along the shore when she was suddenly covered in earth and an animal swam over her, it had a long tail and was about a meter (three feet) long,” police in the town of Schwandorf said in a statement, according to Der Spiegel.

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“She fled out of the water calling for help and described what had happened to her son who had come rushing towards her. But he could only see bubbles in the water.”

German police have closed off Klausensee lake in order to search for the animal with a team of 12 police divers, to no avail. Meanwhile, they’ve told the press the wee beastie probably isn’t much of a threat. “I don’t think it’s a life-threatening crocodile, it’s only a meter long and the tail will take up a lot of that, so its snout is unlikely to be huge,” police spokesman Michael Rebele told Der Spiegel.

Authorities have failed to find the elusive creature, but a local fire department will return to the lake on Wednesday with a new tactic: a night search with rowing boats and searchlights.

“Experts tell us that these animals are active at night and extremely shy, so we will search tonight in the dark and we won’t use motorboats,” city spokesman Lothar Mulzer told Der Spiegel. Meanwhile, the police are asking German reptile owners to identify themselves, and barring that, for their neighbors to rat them out. “If we get information, we’ll go round and ask them where their crocodile has gone.” They might want to start with this guy.

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