Four rare crocodiles being kept as secret pets have been seized from the spare bedroom of a family home in the centre of Croydon. The dangerous reptiles, capable of biting a man’s arm off, were found by chance in makeshift tanks by police officers at a semi-detached house in Waddon.
The officers, who were there on an unrelated matter, called in Croydon Council licensing officers who had the West African dwarf crocodiles seized. Three of the females measured 3ft and were found living in cramped and dirty pond liners in an upstairs bedroom.
The largest one, which measured more than 4ft, was in such a bad condition, it died soon after being transferred. The owner of the protected animals did not have a licence for them and is expected to be charged with four counts under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and faces a substantial fine if found guilty.
It is understood he bought the four female crocodiles from a supplier in Endland, although it is not known how they were smuggled into Britain. The animals have since been transferred to Birdworld in Surrey, where they are being fed on white mice and are happily sharing a large pond with terrapin turtles.