Police Chief Reece J. Fisher has seen a lot of things on the streets of Ocean Gate during his years as a police officer. But never a crocodile.
"I've seen snakes, deer, big turtles, but a crocodile? That's a first," he said.
It was a first for Berkeley Township Animal Control Officer John Bober too.
A resident saw the reptile making its way down the 100 block of East Longport Avenue shortly after midnight on July 17 and called police.
"The street was warm," Fisher said. "I would imagine it was attracted to that."
By the time Berkeley Township Animal Control officers arrived on the scene, the animal had already been nudged into a 55-gallon drum, Bober said.
"He wasn't that rambunctious," Bober said. "He seemed kind of calm and tame."
Animal Control workers then bought the reptile back to trailers on the township public works property, where injured wildlife are often cared for, he said.
"We have big fish tanks," Bober said. "We had enough room to put him in there. We gave him chicken. He was comfortable. He put on a few pounds while he was with us."
Neither Fisher or Bober think the owner of the crocodile will come forward to claim it, since it's illegal in New Jersey to own one, unless the owner has the proper licenses and certification.
"I don't know if they dumped it," Bober said. "It probably got away from someone. You not supposed to be in possession of a crocodile."
"We are attempting to I.D. a caretaker," Fisher said. "We would like to speak with them, find out where they obtained it, how long they have had it and how it ended up in the road."
By late this afternoon, New Jersey Fish, Game and Wildlife officers had picked up the reptile, Bober said.
The croc will eventually end up in a "good home," with owners who have the proper credentials, he said.