CRIKEY! Two Melbourne walkers have had a Christmas to remember after they stumbled upon a crocodile in a Heidelberg Heights street.
Highly sceptical police thought it was all a crock before arriving at the Waiora Rd address to find the one-metre long saltwater crocodile sitting quietly on the footpath shortly after 8.30pm.
Expecting to face only a large lizard, officers had no choice but to call in snake hunter Mark Pelley.
"At about 9.20pm on Christmas Day I got a phone call from Victoria Police saying there's a crocodile walking down the street, can you come catch it," Mr Pelley said.
"It was a call I've been waiting for my whole life as it's extremely unusual to have one in Melbourne."
The Australian Saltwater Crocodile is the world's largest reptile and can be found around the top of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Mr Pelley, who spends his days catching venomous snakes, said he couldn't believe his eyes when he came to face-to-face with the deadly predator.
"It was the first time I've seen anything like that," he said.
"It moved much faster than a snake and was much snappier - it tried to bite me a few times.
"I eventually dived forward and grabbed its tail and held it upside down and put it safely in to a box."
Acting Sergeant Daniel Elliott said it was not yet known where the croc came from or how it landed in the front yard of the abandoned medical centre.
"Policing is nice and dynamic, you never know what is going to come next," he said.
"We're running on the presumption that it was a pet at some stage.
"We're not sure whether it's been deliberately dumped or escaped an enclosure in the vicinity."
The "Christmas croc" will remain with Mr Pelley until the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning can collect it.
Anyone missing a crocodile or with information on the owner is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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