Armed with mobile phones, electric prods, nets and rifles, the Thai navy set off in search of crocodiles Saturday as the government confirmed fears that hundreds of the reptiles are on the loose.
The government also urged Bangkok residents to report any sightings of crocodiles in the city's murky canals. Thai television broadcast the mobile phone numbers of the navy patrols.Crocodile fever swept Bangkok two weeks ago after reports that floods liberated some of the animals from pits at farms north and east of the capital.
The crocodiles were said to have slipped into the Chao Phraya River, which runs into Bangkok, and reportedly have bitten two villagers while they were fishing.
So far no crocodile has been caught in Bangkok, but there have been unconfirmed sightings from people living alongside the canals and river. Some have been seen searching for crocodiles at night, when the animals surface to feed.
Private posses will receive 3,000 baht ($120) for any crocodiles caught, a newspaper quoted the chief of the Fisheries Department as saying Saturday.