The suspected reptile was pictured inside an electrical substation on Sydney Street in the north of the city on Monday.
Small in stature and sporting realistic off-yellow markings, the supposed crocodile was shown to be perched on a thin metal beam near the top of a transformer, its legs and tail draped over either side, surrounded by hazard signs, warning: “Danger of death, keep out.”
Seeking to solve the mystery, local outlet Worcester News approached the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust with the images, which were less than crystal clear.
“Well, it’s not very often you see that in Worcester,” the trust’s communications manager Wendy Carter was quoted as saying.
“It certainly looks like a dead crocodile – perhaps a caiman but I’m afraid I know very little about how you might identify it from another species.
“It’s certainly not native and my guess would be that it’s an escaped or abandoned captive animal but I don’t know what species are likely to be kept as such.
“I don’t suppose it’s plastic [or] a toy is it?”
Ms Carter’s latter question was soon proven incisive, as the outlet approached Western Power Distribution in a bid for answers.
The power network operator then sent an engineer to investigate, who discovered it was merely a realistic-looking toy.
“After reports that a crocodile had been spotted in a substation in the Barbourne area of Worcester, one of our engineers visited the site and discovered that the animal was, in fact, a toy,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“It will now be removed. We would like to take this opportunity to remind customers never to enter electricity substations, or to throw objects inside.
“Substations contain high voltage equipment which can kill. Anyone who does lose an object inside a substation is advised to stay well clear and call 105, our emergency number, and wait for help to arrive.”
It’s the second mistaken crocodile sighting reported in as many years in the city, with one hotel manager helping to clear the devastation caused by Storm Dennis last February given a scare as a life-size crocodile – quickly revealed to be a garden model – emerged from the flood waters.
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