Crocodile sighting in Penang sparks frenzy

GEORGE TOWN - The sighting of a crocodile in Penang waters has sparked frenzy on social media.

A Facebook user took a picture of the crocodile near the Penang Port and shared it with others. It is believed that a fisherman near Pulau Rimau first sighted the crocodile at about noon on Thursday.

District officer of the Civil Defence Department Lt Zainudin Abdullah said the crocodile was trapped in the fisherman's net but managed to escape.

"No report was lodged. We will, however, work closely with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and fishermen to locate the crocodile," he said.

Wildlife expert Mohamed Hifni Baharuddin, a senior lecturer of the School of Biological Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia, said it was rare for crocodiles to be out in the open.

Asked if crocodiles posed a threat to the public, he said that it was unlikely unless it was their breeding season.

"The public have nothing to worry about as there have been no record of attacks. They only attack people during the breeding season when they think that you are a threat to them or when you encroach (into) their nesting grounds," he said.

He said the peninsula was not like Sabah and Sarawak where the crocodile population is relatively higher, adding that the higher the population, the more likely it was for attacks to take place.

Crocodiles are omnivorous and can be present in fresh water and salt water.

Their diet include fish, plant material and shellfish.