Recently, residents of one Chengdu neighborhood were given the shock of their life after strolling by the community fish pond and noticing a crocodile lurking in the water.
While many residents quickly raised the alarm, one man urged everyone to calm down, explaining that he had put the 1-meter-long croc there in order to keep it fresh for the dinner he was planning with a friend, noting that the animal’s mouth was taped shut.
Later on, community managers talked with the man, telling him that the pond perhaps was not the best place to store a live crocodile — mouth tape or not. Eventually, he was reluctantly persuaded to move it away.
Though it’s not exactly a popular dish, eating crocodile meat is not illegal in China (In the northeastern city of Shenyang, croc kebabs are on sale for 20 yuan for a skewer) and there are crocodile farms set up across the country. However, one local breeder did confirm to the Chengdu Business Daily that taking a crocodile to a public place and leaving it there is not a good idea.
It turns out that this crocodile was a 2-year-old Siamese crocodile, one of the world’s most endangered reptiles and a nationally protected animal in China. However, despite its status, China still allows the farming of the Siamese crocodile, which is prized for its skin and as a delicacy. While the animal has nearly died out in the wild, its population is still technically going strong with an estimated 700,000 Siamese crocodiles in farms throughout Southeast Asia.
At the same time, the number of crocodiles/alligators spotted in Chinese cities seems to be exploding recently. Last week in Nanning, a pet alligator escaped from its home and then made its way downstairs to the local day care, looking for a snack.
[Images via Chengdu Busines Daily]
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