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South China Hunts for 70 Escaped Crocodiles After Typhoon Floods

South China Hunts for 70 Escaped Crocodiles After Typhoon Floods
A healthy crocodile with normal teeth. (Photo: Philip Jordaan)

(Bloomberg) -- Authorities in southern China are dealing with an unusual problem after flooding caused by a recent typhoon: escaped crocodiles.

Officials in a rural area of Maoming, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) southwest of Hong Kong, are warning the public after 70 of the animals escaped from a farm during Typhoon Haikui, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported.

Crocodiles are frequently farmed for food in some parts of southern China.

Some of the animals have been caught but others may have escaped into lakes and ponds, according to the report, which said the adults can weigh over 100 kilograms (220 pounds). It was unclear how many of that size were roaming free.

No one has been hurt but police have banned fishing in some areas and warned people to limit time spent outdoors. Officials were mulling shooting the animals if they posed a bigger problem.

Haikui knocked out power for some 250,000 homes in Taiwan last week, then brought Hong Kong to a standstill on Friday with the heaviest rainstorm since records began in 1884.

The storm also caused two deaths in the eastern Chinese province of Fujian and prompted Guangdong to issue a flood warning. Shenzhen reported getting the most rainfall in a 12-hour period in data going back to 1952.

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