BUKIT MERTAJAM: A five metre-long crocodile was spotted near a pump house behind Auto City here.
Construction site worker Aktar Hussain Segar, 50, said he was shocked to see such a big reptile while doing routine checks.
“I was startled to see the crocodile which tried to chase me. But I quickly ran away to a safe distance.
“The next thing I knew, the crocodile had slipped through the railings and into the river.
“This is not the first time we’ve seen crocodiles here. This is my third encounter,” said Aktar Hussain, recounting what happened on Saturday, about 8am.
In closed circuit television (CCTV) footage shared on social media, the crocodile can be seen crawling on the road next to Sungai Juru.
Universiti Sains Malaysia wildlife biodiversity and conservation expert Prof Dr Shahrul Anuar Mohd Sah identified it as a Crocodylus porosus, or saltwater crocodile.
“Male crocodiles can grow up to 6 metres, while females are smaller and rarely exceed 3 metres long.
“It is most likely that the crocodile came from Sungai Juru which is near the site.
“As the crocodile is big, it can feed on wild boar or monkeys,” he said in a phone interview on Sunday.
Dr Shahrul Anuar said in 2011, a 3-metre long crocodile was spotted near Junjung Mati River in Juru, and in 2017, a 4.27-metre saltwater crocodile was spotted by the bushes near Sungai Sembilang in Kuala Juru.
Last month, a crocodile, which was almost 4 metres long and weighing about 500kg, was netted off the coast of Bagan Ajam in Butterworth.
Prof Shahrul Anuar said the public should leave the reptiles alone and not disturb them if they happen to see one.
“The public can help by alerting the authorities so that they can take action.
“The public can call the Wildlife and National Parks Department’s hotline at 1800-88-5151 from 8am-6pm every day, including public holidays,” he said.
On the recent sighting of the reptile in Juru, Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Mokhtar said they did not receive a distress call from the public.“This size crocodile is quite extraordinary. I don’t think we have seen such a big one in Penang before. So far, we have no records of such huge crocodiles in Penang.
“Crocodiles that are caught will be handed over to the Wildlife Department,” he said.
Sungai Juru is located about 12km south-east of Butterworth.