Crocodile representational image
Representational image (crocodiles) marcel-zihlmann/Pixabay

China is currently dealing with an unusual problem after 70 crocodiles escaped a breeding farm during floods in the southern part of the country.

When Typhoon Haikui struck Maoming, a city in China's southwestern Guangdong province, a lake there began to overflow. That's when 69 adult crocodiles and six juveniles made an escape towards the open water. Some of those reptiles have been recaptured, but the whole operation has been difficult considering the depth of the lake they are in.

As per various news reports, the local authorities have been forced to shoot or electrocute some of those crocodiles "for safety reasons". The officials have also admitted some of the reptiles are still in deep water. Emergency services have been using sonar equipment to find them. Villagers nearby have also been asked to stay at home.

"It is currently under control, but the number of crocodiles that escaped is a bit high", a staff member at the district's emergency bureau said in an interview, reported BBC.

The escaped crocodiles are said to be Siamese crocodiles. These are freshwater reptiles that can grow to around 3m or nearly 10ft long, according to Crocodiles of the World, a UK zoo. The average weight of the adult crocodiles that have been captured is about 75kg, and they measure more than 2m in length.

The city of Maoming has a number of crocodile farms as the reptiles there are bred for their skin as well as for meat, which is sometimes used in traditional medicine.

Typhoon Haikui has been ripping across Asia for more than a week, affecting China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. At least seven people have been killed and three more are missing in southern China following the typhoon. It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but has already caused landslides and flooding.

Last week, the floods killed at least two people in Hong Kong. Following heavy rains on Monday, some parts of the city were flooded again. Puddles of water and debris could still be seen. Hong Kong leader John Lee said the government would set up an emergency assistance fund to help those affected by the floods.

In recent months, China has had some of its heaviest rains and worst flooding in years. Dozens of people have been killed, including in remote mountainous parts of the country's capital, Beijing.

Moreover, it is not uncommon for wildlife, including alligators and snakes, to be found in floodwaters after powerful storms and floods.