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Crocodile spotted in downtown Yekaterinburg

August 28, 2013, 18:18 UTC+3

Local police mobilized to capture reptile; predator evades escape in river

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YEKATERINBURG, August 28. (Itar-Tass) – Local police is mobilized to hunt down a crocodile, who allegedly decided to take a stroll through downtown Yekaterinburg, a major Russian city located on the border of Europe and Asia. The reptile was spotted early Wednesday by local residents and a traffic police unit, press service of the regional Interior Ministry branch told Itar-Tass.

“A local resident has contacted the police, saying he encountered the predator on the bank of the Iset River. The witness so no one else near the animal. A traffic police squad who was on duty nearby have confirmed the sighting. They’ve tried catching it, by the reptile escaped and submerged in the water,” the press service elaborated.

Press service of the Yekaterinburg circus, which is located near the sighting area, has declared that their pet crocodile is accounted for an never escaped.

Currently all units are mobilized with the objective to find the dangerous predator. The police has warned citizens, urging them to stay alert. 

The local zoo also denied any relation to the reptile, which however can die because of low air temperatures. “The crocodile is a cold-blooded animal and needs to warm itself in the sun, but the temperature of the air in Yekaterinburg today is only 13 degree Celsius,” Pavel Kosintsev, a specialist of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said. “Water below 15 degrees is deadly for the crocodile. At 10 degrees it would lie on the bottom unable to move. It will simply slowly die there.”

Kosintsev said the crocodile posed no danger to people under these circumstances. “The crocodile will start attacking you only if you step on it. If the animal gets out of the water, it should be caught while it lies in the sun, when its reflexes are slow. Our movements are too fast for it to notice,” the expert said.

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