Crocodile hunt launched in Nantou County after caiman spotted in farm pond

Reptile experts have been hired to catch a caiman, after reports emerged yesterday that a crocodile had been spotted in a field of water bamboo in Puli Township, Nantou County.

When a post appeared on social media saying that a crocodile was seen in a zizania pond readers were incredulous.

“My mother said that there are crocodiles in the bamboo shoots field,” someone posted on the Facebook group “Puli People,” with an accompanying photograph.

“It’s probably fake,” one reader responded. “It looks like a fat gecko,” wrote another.

Even the agricultural department was skeptical: “It’s almost harvest time, so the farmer probably put an inflatable crocodile in the pond to deter thieves,” was the first response when they received a report.

However, Nantou County Agriculture Department confirmed the sighting after personnel were dispatched to the farm to check on the story. The “crocodile” was identified as a spectacled caiman. The animal was less than one meter long, and is suspected to be an abandoned pet.

caiman in zizania pond

The elderly farming couple, named Huang, had first spotted the caiman around one week ago. Mr Huang told reporters that he had been farming in the area for more than forty years and had never seen a crocodile in Puli, let alone in his own water bamboo field. Huang said that he was really startled the first time he saw it, but the crocodile lay quietly and did not move, just like a pet, so he just ignored it.

Mrs Huang seemed a little more nervous at the prospect of working in the pond with the mini croc so close by. “When I saw it I said ‘go away, I’m scared of you,'” Mrs Huang told a TVBS reporter. “It wagged its tail. Strange to say, it seemed to have intelligence. It wagged its tail and dived into the water.”

The agriculture department hired a team of professionals from a reptile rescue and rehabilitation group to capture the caiman. Late last night the team spent more than two hours searching for the animal, but to no avail. With Mr Huang concerned about the group stumbling around in the dark and trampling on his water bamboo shoots, they finally gave up and decided to take another tack.

wildlife catcher searches for caiman in the dark
Picture: 爬蟲動物救援協助送醫治療.

This morning the wildlife catchers returned to the field and waited for the caiman to come out of the water to bask in the sun.

As of noon, the caiman had not yet made an appearance.

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