INNISFAIL, Australia, May 24 (UPI) -- An Australian fisherman who caught a 6 1/2-foot crocodile on his birthday said he took the animal home and had it sleep under his bunk bed.
Ashley Sala said he was fishing in Ninds Creek in the Cassowary Coast Region, 55 miles south of Cairns, on his birthday Tuesday and initially believed he had hooked a barracuda, The Cairns Post reported Friday.
"I threw my line out to catch a barra for my birthday and I ended up catching a croc," Sala said.
Sala said he was "starting to feel sorry for" the crocodile, which likely would not have survived if he had not untangled the beast, which he pulled it from the water, taped its jaws shut and drove to the home of his local councilor to complain about the local crocodile population.
Councilor Mark Nolan advised Sala to keep the croc safe until it could be picked up by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, so he took the reptile home. Sala said his girlfriend sent him and their reptile guest to an empty cabin at their trailer park, where the crocodile slept under his bunk.
"I sat on the top bunk and had a few birthday beers by myself and watched the croc on the floor until I fell asleep," Sala said.
Nolan said he was impressed with Sala's feat, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported.
"Paul Hogan's got nothing on Ashley Sala," he said, comparing Sala to the "Crocodile Dundee" actor. "Paul Hogan never slept with a saltie. Ashley has, and I witnessed it.
"So I give Ashley a 10 out of 10 for the way he cared for the reptile during the night and now it's been relocated and it's safely back in a crocodile farm," Nolan said.