From: Reuters
Published June 24, 2005 12:00 AM

Cypriots Get Teeth Into Case of Missing Crocodiles

NICOSIA — Wildlife wardens in Cyprus are trying to verify reports that crocodiles may be on the loose at a popular tourist nature spot after they became too dangerous for their owner to handle.


The reptiles were believed to have been smuggled into the east Mediterranean island, where crocodiles do not breed and their closest native cousin is the innocuous chameleon.


"The information we are trying to verify is that someone imported baby crocodiles as pets, and when he realised they were growing..they were too much for him to handle so let them loose," a veterinary department official said.


However, police appeared to doubt the accuracy of the report of the crocodiles' release and suggested the story that made headlines on Thursday might have been a prank.


"It is impossible to verify the information based on investigations so far," a police statement said.


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The crocodiles, believed to number between two and four and to be small in size, were thought to be less than a year old. Adults can grow to three metres (about 10 feet) in length?. Wildlife wardens were scouring a reservoir area in the southeast of the island.


The lake is popular with tourists and anglers, whose usual catch is freshwater African bass.


Source: Reuters


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