Thursday, 19. December 2013 - 09:12
19. 09. 12. - 13:00
Austrian police have called off the search for a two-meter long crocodile that came out of the river to chase two children and munched their croc shoes before swimming off after a DNA test on the shoes failed to locate crocodile DNA.
The police said they were not ruling out that the story was true, especially after a German hiker also claimed to have seen the beast a week later, but police say that they will now wait for the onset of winter.
Local council spokesman Klaus Brandner said: "We can't devote so much time to the hunt as we have spent weeks on it already, whether there is a crocodile there or not - there is no way it will survive the winter so the problem will solve itself one way or another."
The two children had been bathing in the river Drau near Sachsenburg in the Austrian province of Carinthia when they said the crocodile lunged out of the water - causing one of the two to loose her croc shows that were chomped by the beast before it went back into the water.
The two eleven-year-olds raised the alarm with their parents and a swimming ban was introduced that is still in force.
Brandner said the tests that were negative had been carried out by experts at Vienna's Natural History Museum.
Crocodile expert Helga Happ said they had failed to get any other confirmation there was a crocodile in the area despite cameras being installed and bait left for the crocodile to try and encourage it to surface.
Happ said: "If the animal is as big as described it is very dangerous. They bite their victims and drag them underwater to drown them, and then they feed by tearing off chunks of meat with the death roll. It is not an animal to be underestimated."
But another expert, Andreas Schedl, owner of the Klagenfurt Pet Store "Arche Exotica" said that if there was a reptile in the water it was almost certainly not a crocodile and probably just a Caiman. He also rejected the suggestion that the bite marks in the shoes were proof that the animal existed.
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