Crocodile Park (Madras Crocodile Bank) @ ECR, Chennai

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No, the above shown crocodile is not trying to intimidate me! I think it’s sleeping with its mouth open. I have seen crocodiles in this pose, even at the Guindy snake park. Anyway, today let us learn more about crocodiles and a few other reptiles that are kept at the Madras Crocodile Bank (Crocodile park) @ ECR (probably 10 KM before Mahabalipuram).

The Madras Crocodile Bank (MCB) is open from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM every day, except Mondays. The entrance fee for adults is Rs. 35/-, an additional 20 rupees is charged for still camera. Have a look at a short Youtube video introduction (made by MCB), below –

Thinking about crocodiles will instill fear in us. I guess even lions and hippos are afraid of large crocodiles as they have the most powerful bite among any reptile on earth. But reptiles like crocodiles, snakes, turtles, etc. are all a part of the closely interconnected ecosystem we have on earth. Every creature plays its part and we are all interdependent, one way or other. By mindlessly killing reptiles (for commercial purposes), we are only getting a step closer to the complete destruction of this planet. For one, we could stop buying luxury goods made of animal skins. Only insensitive people will buy such things.

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It seems the Madras Crocodile bank is involved in conservation of reptiles. Of course, this is a reptile zoo, but they also re-release crocodiles/reptiles back into the wild, almost throughout India. The atmosphere here is quite positive and the enclosures are big, closely resembling natural habitat of these animals. That is a huge step forward, but zoo’s should come forward to create even larger free-to-roam enclosures for such animals and we could go in locked jeeps/vans to see them safely. I prefer national parks/safaris to zoo’s.

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Crocodiles lay-eggs to reproduce and their eggs are stored in nest-holes (in land) for 60-110 days, before hatching. The temperature of incubation determines the sex of the off-springs (mostly). They lay many eggs at the same time. Different species of crocodiles are found in/near both salt-water and fresh-water ecosystems.

Alligators can stay under water for over six hours without coming up for air. They can jump. In fact, they stay under-water and jump suddenly when an animal like deer comes to drink water. They catch the animal with their jaws and drag it into water. They also eat fishes, etc. Muggers and Gharials are two commonly found crocodile species in India.

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The crocodile in the above photo is Jaws III. It seems, this is the largest captive crocodile in India and their species can grow up to 7 meters and weigh more than 1000 Kgs! Have a look at this video (taken by some visitor to MCB) to get a better glimpse of this crocodile and see how it is fed. Looks like workers there casually feed crocodiles! If you go, don’t try silly things like sitting on the brick fence, extending your hands to feed popcorn to the crocodiles, etc. At least, as long as you want your body parts to be intact in your body!

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Apart from crocodiles/alligators, they also have turtles and tortoises. This one is the Aldabra giant tortoise that is only found in a group of coral islands in Eastern coast of Africa. It seems, this is the second largest tortoise species in the world (after Galapagos tortoise). Fully grown Aldabra tortoises have large shells (5 feet in length), weigh 225 Kgs and live for 80-90 years! This park also has a snake venom extraction unit.

The latest addition is – Green & Yellow ANACONDA’s (click to see). It seems, they have been kept on public display from 19th Jan 2013 (according to their site), but I went there before that date. Unlike what we think, anaconda’s cannot grow to 40-50 feet (as shown in some movies). They are not even the largest snake on earth, as largest anacondas can grow only up to 16-20 feet (max). A variety of python can grow longer than that.

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When I opened the above wooden window, there was a mirror inside. The management has a sense of humor. Or shall we say, satire? 🙂 They have a croc shop that sells crocodile memorabilia like t-shirts, post cards, etc. They also allow you to adopt reptiles. Don’t let your imagination sway – you cannot take that Jaws III to your home and cuddle it or anything 😀 You can pay for their upkeep, feed the reptile occasionally (under supervision), proudly display a certificate and stay safe 🙂

Destination Infinity

Photos: Destination8Infinity. All photos published under this creative commons license.

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20 Replies to “Crocodile Park (Madras Crocodile Bank) @ ECR, Chennai”

  1. I have not seen the crocodile park, but have heard a lot about it. Thanks for the link on Anacondas. It is revealing and exposes how much myth has grown around them, thanks to the Anaconda series. Am I right in believing that pythons are longer than them?
    I have visited the marshes in Florida where an airboat takes you over the marshes and one can see these mammoth creatures sunning themselves. The scariest thought is that the boat breaks down and you are going to be the meal of one those 🙂

    1. Not all pythons are longer than anacondas. Only one/a few species of pythons are longer, if my understanding is right. Yes, python is the largest snake – Not anaconda.

      I am not sure if they can eat fully grown humans, like that. Need to refer a bit more.

      Destination Infinity

    1. Yes, both crocodiles and pythons are intimidating indeed. We better stay at a safe distance from them 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  2. We had been there many times with the children and visitors. I remember the stink too! But admired the baby crocodiles.

    The last one is good. Yes, we are dangerous for the whole universe including humans and other species.

    The Anaconda link is interesting! I have seen one movie of Anaconda in theatre long back! Didn’t feel scary though!

    1. That movie has most probably shown an extra large anaconda which is an exaggeration of its actual size. It seems anacondas move away when they come to contact with humans. As the last photo says, we humans are the most dangerous predators in the whole world.

      Destination Infinity

    1. I too enjoyed visiting this place. It’s maintained well and they maintain a positive atmosphere, there.

      Destination Infinity

  3. I had been to the crocodile bank half a dozen times and the jaws III is a wonderful one and obeys the care taker when he tells to come out of water. I was lately there two years back and still hold many pictures of the crocodile form visit that needs post.

    Nice photos and simply neat post!

  4. According to Pradeep Vyas, director of Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR), a good sub-adult or juvenile population in Ramganga range proves that this area has the potential to sustain a healthy number of crocodiles in future.

  5. Although this species was once found over the whole of the Philippines, it is now critically endangered. In addition to this, very little is known about the natural history or ecology of the species, or its relationship with the Crocodylus porosus , whose range it overlaps. More surveys are required to determine the present range. Initial population reduction was through commercial exploitation, although the current threat is mainly from removal of suitable habitat for agricultural purposes to satisfy a rapidly expanding human population. There is also very limited governmental support for any conservation measures, and the crocodiles are often killed by the local populace. This situation needs to be changed through awareness programs. Long-term captive breeding and release (through PWRCC, Silliman University and international breeding centres) is judged to be the best course to take at the present time, although it is imperative that a management program is drawn up for the remainder of the wild population (most of which resides in only one protected area). In 1992, there were estimated to be less than 1000 animals in the wild. In 1995, that estimate was revised to be no more than 100 non-hatchlings (note: hatchlings are rarely counted in surveys because their survivorship is so low).

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