WEST ALEXANDRIA — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said it’s highly unlikely there are more crocodiles are in the West Alexandria area after one was captured in Bantas Fork Creek Wednesday.
A church group with more than a dozen kids were playing in the creek around 7:30 p.m. when a dark shape was spotted down the creek.
One of the members on a bridge the goes over the creek saw the large shadowy figure.
As it got closer to the group, they yelled for everyone to get out before realizing the figure was a crocodile.
Wildlife Officer Brad Turner responded and killed it “due to a public safety concern,” he said.
Members of the group said it was necessary in order to protect any children that were or may go into the water.
The crocodile was 7½ feet and shipped to Columbus, where the Ohio Department of Agriculture will investigate the case.
It is not clear how the crocodile got into Bantas Fork Creek, but the ODA is checking to see if it had been tagged or chipped as a pet.
Turner said that finding a crocodile in Ohio is “very rare” and that it was his first crocodile call in his 12-year career.
He added that the group in West Alexandria “did the perfect thing” and advised anyone who finds an alligator or crocodile in the wild to call local law enforcement or a wildlife officer.
HillTop had everyone immediately get out of the water and stand on a bridge as Turner was contacted.
The group spotted the crocodile swimming under the bridge and few people kept an eye on it until Turner arrived and removed it, according to the Facebook post.
“It’s kind of like you’re going out to enjoy an evening and all of a sudden terror strikes,” said Richard Turnbull, who leads a children’s group for HillTop. “We don’t expect a wild animal down here, especially a crocodile, it doesn’t belong here.”