It was a Christmas Day croc shock for a couple of Melbourne walkers.

The pair found a 1m long saltwater crocodile in a Heidelberg Heights front yard about 8.30pm local time on Monday.

Police were sceptical, and thought they would find a large lizard instead, but there was indeed a crocodile on the loose in suburban Melbourne.

Officers called in snake catcher Mark Pelley who will hold on to the reptile until the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning can collect it.

Advertisement

Pelley said he got the phone call about 8.40pm from Victoria Police saying "there's a crocodile walking the streets and it's currently outside a medical centre".

"This is a phone call I've always been waiting for," he told 3AW. "I found five police members being stared down by a decent sized crocodile, about three and a half foot, and the crocodile wouldn't back down."

The snake catcher's friend tried to distract the croc so Pelley could throw something over its eyes.

"However, the crocodile was a bit too smart for the both of us and decided to run off into the bush," Pelley said.

So he lunged forward to grab the creature by the tail, picked it up and put it into a box. Where the creature came from remains a mystery to police.

- AAP