MALE crocodiles will be on the prowl in our back yard during the next couple of months but it's not just food they're after - they'll be out looking for girlfriends.
And it's not the first time. Crocs have been a fixture in this region for many years.
It's crocodile breeding season, a time when males usually become more mobile as they search for a suitable mate.
They will often venture into new territory, even if that means getting close to heavily populated areas, such as the Northern Beaches, where some large crocs were spotted at the weekend.
At the weekend a 2 to 3 metre crocodile was spotted at McCreadys Creek at Slade Point, and another, which was reported to have been between 4 and 5 metres long, was seen at Blacks Beach, prompting the closure of several beaches, which have since been reopened.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management advises that people who live in 'Croc Country', from Gladstone to Cape York, should remain particularly vigilant during the summer months and follow the recommendations of CrocWise, which include never swimming in crocodile infested waters, always supervising children and cleaning up any food that could act as a potential lure.
Minister for Tourism Jan Jarratt said that both holidaymakers and locals should exercise caution in areas known to be populated by crocodiles.
"Often we receive reports of careless behaviour such as people dumping fish scraps at boat ramps and standing knee-deep in water while fishing in crocodile habitat," she said.
"The government places crocodile warning signs in high-use areas such as boat ramps where people are likely to encounter crocodiles," she said.
"However, it is not possible to place signs everywhere that crocodiles might be present and people must take responsibility for their own safety."
Crocodiles may have a fearsome reputation, but will generally mind their own business if left alone.
Most of the incidents that occur between humans and crocodiles are avoidable, and by paying close attention to the movements of the local crocodile population and respecting their territory, there's no reason why Mackay can't have a summer free of crocodile attacks.
- Blacks Beach: There have been several sightings of crocodiles over the years at Blacks Beach, and a 4 metre crocodile was spotted in the water at the weekend. It was last seen heading towards Lamberts Beach.
- Proserpine River: Most of the crocodiles seen in the area are reported to be 2-3 metres long, although there have been reports of 4-5 metre crocs.
- McCreadys Creek: This little creek at Slade Point is not only popular for fishing and swimming, it is also a favourite hangout for crocodiles. One was spotted at the weekend circling the creeks banks.
DO: Keep as much distance as possible between yourself and the crocodile.
DO: Back away slowly. Any sudden movements might make it attack.
DO: If the croc is in a heavily populated area, report it to your local wildlife authority.
DON'T: Provoke the croc. They may look docile at times, but will lash out if threatened.
DON'T: Feed the croc as this will encourage it to come back to the same place for food.
DON'T: Panic. Getting hysterical isn't going to help , and the croc is probably more scared of you than you are of it.
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