US alligator caught on Australian coast

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - December 30, 2008

So police assumed they had a crocodile, a native of Australia's tropical north, when vacationers caught a reptile in a volleyball net late Monday that had been wandering around their campsite in Pambula, New South Wales.

State police on Tuesday corrected an initial press statement to explain that the 5-foot (1.5-meter) reptile was, in fact, an alligator.

Odder still, Craig Adam, manager of the Australian Reptile Park zoo in the state, told the NineMSN Web site that the captured creature belonged to a species native to the southeastern United States.

Alligators tend to live in freshwater and have wide u-shaped snouts, where as crocodiles are usually found in saltwater. They have longer, pointy snouts.

Police said checks have revealed that no one is licensed to keep either a crocodile or an alligator in the area. They are still investigating where the alligator came from.

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