Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pen No.11

For as long as I can remember, this reptile has been in this enclosure, the Pen No.11 of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT). He apparently wasn't much when he was found on the grounds of the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI); he only weighed in at around 15kg, as a 5-year old. That wasn't really much, for a salt water crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), a species that can reportedly grow up to 25 feet and weigh over a ton in the wild. In the 34 years since he was found at the CLRI, this croc has grown over 40-fold. Currently measuring close to 17 feet from the tip of his nose to the last scute of his tail, he weighs over 600 kg. And that, when he eats only twice a month, on the first and the third Sundays. The rest of the time, he mostly lazes around, showing off his figure to awed visitors. Some of them - the older ones, especially - find him too pacific to merit a name which had terrorized them on screen: Jaws. Jaws III, to be precise.

But don't be fooled into thinking you can jump in and dance around in the pen. Jaws III is a mean chappie. Believed to be the biggest ever captive salt water crocodile, he has been giving folks at the MCBT a peculiar headache. They just haven't been able to find a female large enough for him to mate with. Two attempts in recent years met with horrific results: Jaws III just grabbed the little lady by her waist, tossed her into the air and chomped her down. Probably the keepers didn't realise what had happened, because they brought in another lady, who met with the same fate. The third attempt wasn't a complete disaster, for there was a mesh separating them. Business did not result, in any event.

C. porosus live to a hundred, in the wild. In captivity, they can potentially live for longer. Jaws III still has time to find the love of his life. Know anyone?


bruck said...

Thank you for provide information.
I just can provide photos.

Shantaram said...

@Armando: And those photos are amazing!