A Northern Territory outback publican had the fright of her life when she came across a two metre crocodile sitting outside her pub last weekend.
A hotel manager came across the freshwater crocodile sitting by her office, in the heart of the NT's dry and rugged cattle country.
"One of the young station ringers just pounced on him, but it took three of us to tie him up safely," hotel manager Pauline Haseldine said.
"It was the shock of my life."
About 300km from Katherine, on the corner of the Buntine Highway and Buchanan Road, sits the Top Springs Hotel, about as remote as you can get in the largely unpopulated Territory.
It is a central point for the remote communities surrounding it.
Mail is delivered by air, weekly, to the nearest station about 16km away.
There is not a body of water close to it for more than seven kilometres.
"It is really dry out there," Ms Haseldine said on one of her rare trips to Katherine today.
Off the back of a dismal wet season, where little rain has been recorded across large swathe of the NT, the rivers have dried up.
"The Armstrong River, our biggest, is just muddy and dry where ever you look," she said.
"The stations don't have grass or water for their cattle."
The hotel manager of 12 years came across the crocodile last week, as he was wondering around the large property, most likely looking for water.
"He decided to walk up by the office where there is a sign that says 'no visitors past this point', but evidently the croc missed that vital message.
"After I got over my initial shock, I ran for help.
"A young ringer by the name of Zac jumped on him first. The cook came out to help and tied him up, and there I was at the back holding his tail to make sure no one got hurt.
"It was the first time I had ever seen a crocodile up close, and it was definitely a first for the Top Springs Hotel. We are very far from a river.
"He wasn't happy with the way he was flapping his tail around."
Katherine ranger Chris Heydon, who spends his days managing crocodiles in the region, says it is certainly not a common occurrence to find the ancient animals so far away from their natural habitat.
He says there are only two reasons they wonder.
"With the dry weather, crocodiles might be seeking out food and water, and we might start to see them in unusual locations.
"The other way a crocodile gets to be so far out is if people move them.
"It is very unusual, yes,"
Once tied up, Ms Haseldine and her team of rookie croc catchers quickly established, much to their relief, the crocodile was a freshie.
They put him by the sprinkler and watched as a bus load of shocked footy players on their way to the remote community of Lajamanu, stopped to have a look.
"They absolutely couldn't believe it," Ms Haseldine said.
"They had no idea where it came from or how it had travelled that far."
The crocodile has been safely relocated to a flowing river far from the Top Springs Hotel.
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