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Crocodile visits bar, poses for snaps

  • Story Highlights
  • Drinkers at an Outback tavern found a crocodile at the door -- and brought it in
  • Patrons took some photos of them holding it, then put it in a box near the bar
  • The saltwater croc in question was just 60 centimeters long
  • Croc may have escaped from a farm for the animals several kilometers away
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By Saeed Ahmed
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(CNN) -- It sounds like the setup to a joke: A crocodile walks into a bar...

Drinkers at a watering hole in the Australian outback found themselves toasting a baby saltwater crocodile that wandered up to the pub's door Sunday.

No one knows how the two-foot long (60 cm) crocodile ended up outside the Noonamah Tavern, located off a dusty highway about 25 miles (40 km) from the Northern Territory capital of Darwin.

But unusual creatures are all in a day's drinking for the tavern, said bartender Leila Naray.

"We've had a lot of horses pop up. We've had cane toads, which are yukky," she said. "We have had a big buffalo come in, wander around. There's a photo of him with a beer."

The tavern is also famous for its annual frog-racing competition, a charity event when patrons pack the bar and bet on the best hopper.

But the crocodile was apparently a first.

Two women who work at a gas station outside the bar first spotted the creature. Incredulous bar patrons then rushed out.

A couple of men brought the crocodile inside the pub, taped its mouth and Naray snapped photos.

"We terrorized some of the tourists, I'm sure," she said.

Once hunted to near extinction by poachers, saltwater crocodiles -- affectionately known as "salties" -- have since flourished in Australia after being declared a protected species three decades ago.

They can grow up to to 18 feet (5.45 meters) and weigh 1,700 pounds. They eat whatever they can get their jaws on, including water buffaloes and humans.

Back at the bar, employees worried about the effect of all the attention on the baby crocodile. ""We weren't inventive enough to give him a name," Naray said.

They put him in a box and sent him to the Darwin Crocodile Farm nearby -- where he is doing well.

But the mystery of how the crocodile got to the tavern remains.

"I think someone went fishing and picked him up. Or someone left him here as a practical joke," she said. "It's very unlikely that it walked up by itself."

That, she said, would be a load of croc.

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