A FISHERMAN who claims to have scared a small crocodile away from the Cairns Esplanade says people need to be wary of the reptiles, as croc breeding season commences.
Rangers have been monitoring the northern end of the foreshore, near the Pirate Ship Playground, after two crocodiles were spotted there by several people on Friday morning.
One of the crocodiles was estimated to be about 4m long, while the other - which swam along the shoreline - was less than 2m long.
Cairns fisher Dan Hammersley, who was in the area at the time, claimed he chased the smaller croc away.
"I charged at it from a distance several times to scare it away from the beach," he said.
"It had just been hanging around. As soon as it saw me, it just took off. It clearly didn't want to be anywhere near humans."
The Cairns Esplanade is regarded as croc territory but it is unusual to see the reptiles close to the city, especially during daylight.
Mr Hammersley, who is the administrator of the social media-based FNQ and Cairns Fishing Group, believes the smaller crocodile had been displaced from its regular home by a bigger croc.
"Being breeding season, I'm presuming that these crocodiles have been chased out of those creeks by a bigger male that's looking for a female to breed with," he said.
"So we'll probably see more increased (croc) activity over the coming months."
He advised water users to be croc-wise and "be smarter with their actions".
The department's wildlife officers surveyed the area on Friday but its spokeswoman said the rangers had not seen the two animals again.
Crocodile warning signs have recently been erected near the playground.
Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth said the presence of the crocodiles so close to a children's playground was "unacceptable."
"It is a clear threat and danger to not only human life, but to the entire tourism industry in North Queensland," he said.
He said he was astounded to hear EHP's wildlife officers had only monitored the site and erected warning signs.
"How much more of a danger can there be than a croc 50m away from a children's playground?" he said.
"A zero-tolerance policy and immediate removal should apply for any crocodiles sighted in populated, residential areas."