Crocodiles on the loose in Thailand.

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: At least 10 crocodiles were on the loose from an open zoo on Saturday after floodwater inundated a huge public park in this southern province.

Muang district municipal officials, who oversee the Tha Lad Zoo, on Saturday warned residents living around Somdet Phra Srinagarindra 84 Public Park, which houses the zoo, to take extra caution for fear the reptiles might be hungry and attack people.

The 14-rai zoo houses more than 10 crocodiles, some measuring up to five metres each, rare bird species and other animals. It is part of the public park, which covers 1,257 rai.

Municipal staff were racing against time to evacuate animals from the flood-hit zoo as Stroms continued to lash southern Thailand and northern Malaysia. At least 18 storm-related deaths have been reported in Thailand alone.

The municipality asked electricity officials to cut off power at the public park as the water level increased.

Deputy mayor Manas Pongyeelar confirmed that all the crocodiles were missing from the zoo. Municipal workers in boats were patrolling the park in hopes of locating the animals and keeping them away from populated areas, but the task was complicated by rising water levels.

There were reports that local residents shot dead two other crocs on the loose from a private farm in Muang district two days ago during the flooding. The animals were each 3-4 metres long.

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