'Crocodile' spotted in French pond

21st June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Authorities in eastern France are preparing to drain a village pond in order to catch a crocodile thought to be lurking there

Epinal - Authorities in eastern France are preparing to drain a village pond in order to catch a crocodile thought to be lurking there.

Police and firemen have reported spotting the reptile in the small lake near Xertigny in the Vosges region, but all efforts to confirm its presence have so far failed.

On Saturday an echosounder probed the pond, which is two hectares (five acres) in area and up to 3.5 metres (11 feet) deep, after it was partially drained.

An object was detected, but local mayor Veronique Mercot said it could have been a shoal of fish.

"The best thing now is to empty the pond completely so as to remove any doubt," she said.

Meat has been left around the pond as bait, and fencing erected to stop the animal, believed to be a crocodile or a cayman, from escaping, while the area has been declared off limits to sightseers.

Firemen, police and an expert trapper are keeping a 24-hour watch.

It is not known where the reptile might have come from but a local zoo has expressed willingness to give it a home.

"We want to catch it alive and give it every chance," Mercot said.

AFP / Expatica

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