Strangers on the doorstep rarely bring good news.
But a Darwin woman received a visitor like no other on Monday night when a juvenile saltwater crocodile paid her a surprise visit in the city’s rural area.
Jessica Burton was letting her dog out when she spotted the 60-centimetre reptile at her door and was so shocked that she thought it was a practical joke.
“I kind of had a look and thought, ‘No way, you’ve got to be kidding’,” she told ABC Radio Darwin.
“We got the fishing net and it took a few tries to actually grab him because he was very vicious.
“He was hissing and carrying on. It was quite crazy.”
Stranger still was the location of the crocodile.
Although Ms Burton lives in the rural suburb of Noonamah, she said there was no major body of water nearby.
“We’re not close to any big river systems,” she said.
“There are a few creeks here and there but it was just really odd and strange.”
Parks and Wildlife ranger Danielle Best, who captured the wayward creature on Wednesday morning, said it was not unusual for her crocodile management team to be called out to residential areas.
“They can end up in people’s swimming pools and in backyards,” she said.
“That’s even more the case this time of year because we’ve got receding water levels so crocs are on the move across land looking for water.
“People should assume there’s crocodiles in and around water at any time.”
But Ms Best was also uncertain about where this particular reptile might have come from.
“I would assume that initially it’s come from the Elizabeth River, that’s the nearest major water source to that property.”
Watch where you step! 😬 🐊One family got a late night visitor in Noonamah tonight. 📸: jes Sie
She said she believed it might have travelled inland during the wet season when water levels were high.
“We see a lot of really convenient channels and corridors that these little guys in particular can get up and around properly.
“It could’ve also spent the wet season in a small waterhole closer to the property.”
Ms Burton said the crocodile enjoyed a comfortable stay in the water tank she placed it in overnight, where it even made use of some misplaced pool chairs.
“I’ve actually got chairs that I put in there from Cyclone Marcus,” she said.
“He was up there this morning sun baking.”
The reptile has been relocated to a nearby crocodile farm.