Police on the Costa del Sol are hunting a seven-foot-long reptile that has been terrifying a tourist resort in southern Spain.
Time reports that the crocodile (or alligator - experts have not yet determined which) was first seen on a golf course near the town of Mijas and has since been spotted stalking nearby waterways.
The 'Costa Croc', as it has been dubbed, is the subject of search by special police motorcycle units who hope to catch the animal basking in the sun.
Meanwhile, The Olive Press reports that Seprona, the division of the Spanish Guardia Civil which is responsible for animal welfare, said its officers have found three footprints that experts believe belong to an enormous alligator.
Manager of Torremolinos crocodile park, Enrique Prieto, said the claw-shaped prints are unmistakable, adding that he believes the alligator is "about two metres long, weighs in at 70kg and is between 12 and 18 years old".
"In colder weather alligators make a den of mud and don't eat much, which would explain why no animal remains have been found in the area," he said.
Seprona officers believe they will have a better chance of capturing the reptile when temperatures rise and said they will cut off access to the lake near La Cala de Mijas if it has not been found by May.
He added: "It will probably only attack if it is trodden on or hurt, but if anyone does come across it, the best thing to do is to walk away calmly, without provoking it or trying any acts of bravery."
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