Graves Park Sheffield: Wildlife trust responds to photo of 'crocodile' in pond at popular city park
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Wildlife experts have responded after a man shared this photo showing what he believes is a crocodile in the pond at a popular Sheffield park.
Adrian Mccormick took this 'snap' at Graves Park last Friday, September 29.
He told The Star how he was out walking with his wife that afternoon when he saw what appeared to be a crocodile in the top pond.
He said this was the best photo he could get as by the time he moved to get a better view whatever it was he had spotted had disappeared beneath the surface.
What have people said about 'crocodile' photo taken at Graves Park?
After sharing it on social media, several people suggested it could be a terrapin, as these have been spotted before there and at other parks in Sheffield after being released into the wild by their owners. Others believed it was simply a branch or log floating in the water.
Adrian told The Star whatever he saw was four or five feet long, much too large to be a terrapin, and he is convinced it was not just a log although he says he did not see it move. He believes it could be an exotic pet which was released into the pond when it became too big for its owner to keep.
He added that he usually saw plenty of birds in and around that pond but they had been missing in recent weeks.
Caroline Dewar, chair of the Friends of Graves Park, said: "Having looked at the 'crocodile', although I am not an expert, it looks more like a tree log or branch to me. However, if you have reports of the local water birds drastically reducing in numbers or shedloads of feathers around, do let me know!"
She added that there had been lots of activity in the park reecntly for a big nature survey and no other 'crocodile' sightings had been reported.
Wildlife expert Ian Rotherham told The Star: "Yes, it is a log - as the Loch Ness Monster might well be!"
What did wildlife trust say about 'crocodile' sighting?
Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said it had received no reports of crocodile sightings in Sheffield, though it was aware of terrapins being found in the area in the past, and no one at the trust had been able to identify what the photo shows.
It said there had been several crocodiles found across the UK over the years and it understood they could survive here but only if they could find good food sources and good, warm shelter. In the past they have been found in the likes of sewers and underground waterways to which they had retreated to escape the cold.
Ben Keywood, from the trust, said: "The trade in exotic pets such as terrapin, ferrets and mink has resulted in many non-native species being released into our local environment when they become too big or costly to maintain.
"The release of non-native species in our waterways can have a profound detrimental effect, because they can spread diseases, out-compete or predate our native species.
"If the sighting in Graves Park is indeed an escaped or released non-native species this is always a cause for concern, regardless of its true identity — crocodile or otherwise."