Just when you thought it was safe to go outside again, five crocodiles have managed to escape out into the wild from a farm in Sichuan.
Admittedly, it could have been a whole lot worse. According to the Chengdu Business Daily, a total of 78 baby crocs made a break for it while their home was being renovated over the weekend, managing to escape from a storage container, when it was accidentally overturned into a pond, and start making their way to a nearby river.
So far, workers at the crocodile farm in Nanbu county have been able to catch 73 of the loose reptiles, but that still leaves five of the crocs out roaming the wild, disconcerting news for the local residents of riverside villages, who worry that the animals may start breeding.
Officials have organized search parties, ordering that all crocodiles be accounted for “dead or alive.”
The missing animals are Siamese crocodiles, 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.
All of the escaped crocodiles are infants, so they don’t pose any danger to humans, the farm said, explaining that they probably wouldn’t be able to survive the winter out in the wild anyway.
China’s last mass reptile jailbreak occurred in Anhui province last August when 92 Chinese alligators escaped from a research facility during heavy flooding. Afterward, officials told locals not to worry because “most” had been caught.
While alligator/crocodile escapes may be terrifying news for most people, we know one Chengdu guy who’s probably out searching the backwoods of Sichuan province right now, looking for a tasty snack.
[Images via Chengdu Business Daily]
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