Professional tracker casts doubt on witness reports of a crocodile cruising river in Spain’s Valladolid

DOUBTS: Tracker says tracks more likely human but doesn't mean the croc is not there. CREDIT: Flickr

A professional tracker has cast doubt on witness reports of a crocodile cruising a river in Spain’s Valladolid.

EWN reported yesterday that Local Police and the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil (Seprona) are trying to locate a one-and-a-half metre crocodile sighted in the area of Pesqueruela, in the Simancas district of Valladolid.

Sources from the Emergency Service 112 and the municipal police told Efe that various people claimed to have seen the reptile over the last couple of days.

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The first sighting was around 12 noon on Friday, June 5, when the Local Police of Simancas received a warning a crocodile was cruising the river in the Pesqueruela area.

And on Saturday, another member of the public contacted the Local Police to report a similar sighting.

Ten people have become involved in trying to locate and capture the crocodile, and areas of the river have been cordoned off to prevent public access.

But today, a professional tracker from Chelonia Association for Conservation, Research and Planning of Natural Resources, Fernando Gómez, assured that tracks found on the banks of Pesqueruela, where the Duero and Pisuerga rivers meet, “do not correspond, in any case, to a large reptile.”

He said that the evidence observed so far, footprints and remains of a semi-devoured fish, “do not correspond with the trail that a large reptile would leave.”

But in a statement obtained by Efe and El Norte de Castilla, he added “that does not mean it is not there.”

When asked if it could be a Nile crocodile, the expert said that “the conditions in this area are not ideal” for a reptile of that kind.

However, he pointed out crocodiles adapt, they have been on the land for millions of years, and “can endure without eating, they are elusive and they can move and hide under water.”

With regards to the remains of the fish found, Gómez said it is more likely to have been an otter which ate it, while “the footprints would correspond to human tracks and the opening of vegetation is likely to have been fishermen.”

The clues lead to local fauna, according to Gómez, who has also ruled out having found any nests for the moment, “since these reptiles usually lay their eggs on the surface or underground.”

However, the search is still underway, while Federic Casals, a professor at the University of Lleida, told Efe “the crocodile could come from a nearby home and it is not foreseeable that it will attack humans,” unless it feels cornered.

An expert in animal science and coordinator of the Iberian Society of Ichthyology (Sibic) in the Life Invasaqua project, Casals said these animals “are normally very frightened – especially the youngest – and the danger of an attack is very relative.”


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