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Last Updated: Tuesday January 04 2011 15:12 GMT

Croc and snake fears in Oz floods

A crocodile in a zoo

Crocodiles and snakes may have escaped overflowing rivers during the massive floods in the north east of Australia, local residents are being warned.

People living in Rockhampton are having to use boats to get through water that's up to waist-height, but they've been told not to wade in the rivers.

That's because officials are worried that crocs and snakes could be lurking in the undergrowth!

The flooding across Queensland has so far affected around 200,000 people.

At least 20 towns have been cut off and airports closed, so military aircraft is helping to get emergency supplies and medicines to those who need it most.

The town of Rockhampton in Queensland, which has been totally swamped by the floodwaters
The town of Rockhampton has been totally swamped by the flood waters

Days of heavy rain in the north-east of the country have led rivers to burst their banks, swamping entire towns, closing roads and forcing people to abandon their homes.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the floods as a "major natural disaster" and said recovery would take "a significant amount of time".

It is thought it will take months to clear up the damage caused by the floods.