South African police hunt for 10,000 escaped crocodiles

When the owners of a South African crocodile farm saw rising flood waters threatening to crush their animals, there was little they could say other than 'in a while, crocodiles.'

The farmers at Rakwena Crocodile Farm opened the flood gates on Sunday, releasing as many as 15,000 crocodiles into one of the country's biggest rivers. Now police and locals have joined an effort to retrieve the reptiles by tying plastic bands around their legs and hauling them back to the farm in trucks.

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Raw: Massive Croc Escape at S. Africa FarmAbout 7,000 crocodiles escaped a crocodile farm when the gates on a dam were opened this week to alleviate pressure created by rising flood waters. About 2,000 have been recaptured, the Beeld newspaper reported Friday. (Jan. 25)

The crocodiles are farmed for their skin, which is sold to the fashion industry. These crocs are avoiding their fate for a little while as they wander and swim in the Limpopo River.

Catching them is a nasty business and as many as 10,000 crocodiles remain on the loose. Footage from the African news channel ENCA shows people stepping on crocodiles to hold them still while tying them up.

No one has reported an injury from the reptiles but authorities are warning locals to stay away from the water.

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Those searching say it's easier to catch the animals at night, when their glowing red eyes stand out against the darkness. Spotting those eyes peeping from your backyard would be more than a little unsettling.

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