A widely share image of people standing around a crocodile, which was apparently spotted near a residential area in Chennai, is a fake and should not be taken seriously.

The image, which has been circulated widely on WhatsApp, claims the photo was taken by Chennai residents living near the Medavakkam-Shollinganallur stretch. 

The photo is not even from Chennai, and was in fact put up on a Gujarat-based website on 18 March, 2015, to highlight the man-animal conflict in Vadodara city.

Last week, several fake reports had claimed that crocodiles kept at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust had broken out in the floods. The rumour sparked a major concern, following which the organisation released a statement to squash the claims.

"There have been no escapes. Please don't believe the rumours. All our crocs are accounted for. #safe #rumours, (sic)" tweeted the trust, assuring that its staff was working round the clock to watch the animals.

"Safety is our number 1 priority. Please don't spread panic in a city which is reeling with many troubles, (sic)" added the organisation on Twitter.

Last week, many WhatsApp users unwittingly ended up sharing images of a crocodile claimed to have been spotted inside a residential area in Chennai. However, the image later turned out to be of a crocodile that had escaped from the Tbilisi zoo in Georgia during the floods on 14 June, 2015.