Officials are warning tourists about a 7ft alligator - dubbed the "Costa Croc" - thought to be on the loose in the holiday hotspot of Malaga, Spain.
After receiving "credible" reports of the animal being spotted near manmade lakes in the popular region of Mijas, near Marbella - where many Brits own holiday homes - the Guardia Civil has put up red warning signs in Spanish, that read: "Grave Danger. Crocodile On The Loose."
But expats and holidaymakers are reportedly ignoring the signs and walking to the lakes in the hope of spotting the alligator.
It is thought the animal was being kept as a pet, but was abandoned by the owner. Since 2008, it has been illegal to keep exotic animals as pets in Andalusia, Spain.
According to the Daily Telegraph, experts have used the tracks of the animal to predict that it is between 12 and 18 years old, weighing up to 11 stone.
British expat Ross Bell, restaurant manager at El Soto Golf Club next to the lake, told the Daily Mail: "The police have already been to see us and warned us a crocodile is on the loose.
"We thought they were joking at first but now the signs have gone up, we can see they're taking it seriously.
It is likely the animal will not show itself much until the summer warmth kicks in.
Mijas town hall spokesman Mario Bravo told the Daily Mail: "We don't believe the reptile will be a danger to human beings unless it feels intimidated or threatened. The main danger would be if someone accidentally trod on it in the undergrowth or tried to capture it because they want to take it home or gain fame as the person who caught it."
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