Sunbathers flee in terror as giant crocodile is spotted on popular beach

Will Metcalfe
Contributor

 

This is the moment bathers run away in terror as a huge crocodile suddenly walks onto a beach and strolls down to the shoreline.

An eyewitness with a smartphone filmed the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) walking onto the beach in the Tayrona National Natural Park in northern Colombia’s department of Santa Marta.

One group of young men, who were looking the other way, can be seen nearly walking straight into the large crocodile and end up running off in panic.

National park officials reminded beachgoers the park was set up to protect wildlife as well as for people to enjoy and the presence of the crocodile was actually a positive sign.

Swimmers flee as an American crocodile is spotted on a beach at Tayrona National Natural Park in northern Colombia’s department of Santa Marta (CEN)
A sunbather evades the crocodile (CEN)

However, rangers later evacuated the beach – as much to save the crocodile from being bothered by curious onlookers filming it with their smartphones as to protect people from the dangerous reptile.

National park director Luz Elvira Angarita said it was not unusual to see crocodiles in the area and it was a good sign for the wildlife diversity of the park.

He said: “It’s important to remember these habitats are not just for people to enjoy, but also for the protection of wildlife species.”

Swimmers flee as an American crocodile is spotted on a beach at Tayrona National Natural Park in northern Colombia’s department of Santa Marta (CEN)

The American crocodile, also known in Colombia as the Caiman Aguja, can reach lengths of 6.1 metres (20 ft) and weigh up to 907 kilogrammes (2,000 lb).

They are potentially dangerous to humans but tend not to be as aggressive as some other species. Experts advise people to remain at least 20 metres (66 ft) away from them, not to provoke them and not to swim in areas where they have been seen.

Around 15 live in the national park and they can be also found from South Florida and the coasts of Mexico to as far south as Peru and Venezuela but hunting, pollution and the loss of natural habits are taking their toll on numbers.

Swimmers flee as an American crocodile is spotted on a beach at Tayrona National Natural Park in northern Colombia’s department of Santa Marta (CEN)