A young crocodile, found on the dry bed of a lake abutting a wall of Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, was rescued and taken to the zoo on Tuesday morning.

A team of forest guards struggled for about an hour to tie its snout and feet, before transporting it in a cargo vehicle.

The crocodile was found when a farmer, Venkatesan of Sadanandapuram, had gone with his son and daughter to the dry bed of the sprawling Nedunkundram Lake to let his cattle graze.

Venkatesan said his cattle reacted oddly when taken there, and when he examined the area, he found the crocodile concealed among the bushes, near the compound wall of the zoo.

He immediately took his children and cattle away, and told local residents not to venture there. He then informed personnel at Peerkankaranai police station, who rushed to the lake bed and cordoned off the area.

Forest guards were then brought in, but they had a hard time subduing the young reptile. However, one guard said the crocodile seemed frightened at the sight of so many people around, as several young men had gathered to take a look, despite the presence of police.

After throwing a gunny bag over its snout, the guards pounced on the crocodile, and managed, with some difficulty, to tie it up. The crocodile put up stiff resistance, a forest guard said.

An official at the zoo said it was a marsh crocodile (crocodylus palustris), measured about six feet and was thought to be around three years old. He added that there had been several similar incidents in the past, where crocodiles had been found near the zoo’s borders.

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