SCPA – Society for Crocodile Pranks in April
Yes, it’s April Fools’ Day. So Freckles is not really available for adoption….
Just in case you were wondering….
Do crocodiles make good pets?
In a word, no.
Be quite clear – crocodiles are definitely not suitable for beginners, and they are not recommended even for intermediate-level hobbyists. If you have never owned a reptile before, then take this valuable piece of advice: do not consider purchasing a crocodile and instead look at species like skinks, geckos, agamids or small non-venomous snakes. This is not being patronising, because there are far easier and less expensive ways of learning to keep reptiles in captivity. Crocodiles should only be considered by very experienced individuals who have the resources to look after large, demanding reptiles that are difficult to house, difficult to handle, and increasingly expensive to keep.
Small juvenile crocodiles are deceptive – they seem easy enough to handle, and persuasive dealer talk can easily convince people to part with their cash. But do not be fooled. As they grow larger, crocodiles rapidly become stronger and more boisterous. After only a year, many people can no longer handle their animals and it is very common to see 1 to 2 year old animals being given away or illegally released into the wild. Larger crocodiles are, without a doubt, extremely dangerous animals. They are usually hostile, and most people underestimate just how fast and strong they can be – a 6 foot crocodile can throw three adult men off its back. Crocodiles require skill and experience to handle, and larger animals often require a team of people to deal with safely. Failure to account for this means you risk coming away with very serious injuries. Even a small caiman can put you into hospital and scar you for life.
Bill Moss writes: “This picture above shows the results of a bite to the hand of a 23-year-old woman by a young, 3 foot spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). Another person was handling the animal when the woman attempted to point to something and ask a question. She moved her hand parallel to the caiman’s head and about 6 inches away. The caiman struck sideways and was able to grab her hand. The woman reacted by retracting her hand, which resulted in the tearing of the skin and subcutaneous tissues. The result of the bite was eight internal stitches, 6 external stitches, a damaged nerve running to the index finger, permanent scarring and approximately $US600 in medical treatment.”
Still want a crocodile for a pet?
Perhaps you think a crocodile can be tamed? Think again. Most people expect that regular handling will reduce their aggressive reptile into a placid lapdog, but they come away disappointed. While some species can become more tolerant than others, this often requires many years of hard work, and most realise that crocodiles are hands-off captives in the best interests of the crocodile and the owner.
By now, you should be in no doubt that crocodiles do not make good pets for the majority of people. However, with suitable experience, the right equipment, enough space and money to set up an appropriate enclosure, plenty of determination and the right attitude, crocodiles can be very rewarding to keep – just as long as you know what to expect. Only a small handful of species would be considered suitable for captivity.
How old do you have to be to keep a crocodile?
This will be tough for some readers to accept, but it is good advice: crocodiles are not for kids. Often those who are most enthusiastic about keeping crocodiles tend to be younger, typically still in their teens. However, given the general unsuitability of crocodiles as “pets” and the experience required to keep them, it is strongly recommended that you are in stable financial position, have longterm facilities available, are physically capable of dealing with very strong and boisterous reptiles, and that you have several years of experience with larger reptiles. Yes it’s true, anyone can keep a hatchling alligator or crocodile easily. But they don’t stay that way for long. Most teenagers live in times of great change, and their ability to keep a crocodile now may not be the same in a few years. Think very carefully about your future plans, otherwise you will have several feet of very large reptile to try and get rid of when nobody wants it.