Did you know that the Cotswolds is the home to the UK’s only dedicated Crocodile Zoo? No? Well, Crocodiles of the World is based in Brize Norton and is the result of a life long reptilian passion of Shaun Foggett.
Opened originally in Crawley in 2011, visitor numbers quickly surged and so did the number of reptiles cared for by the zoo. One of the charity’s key objectives is contribute in a real way to international crocodile conservation, and the team has a very active breeding programme – on our visit a group of Siamese crocodile hatchlings were basking under bright lights.
The Siamese Crocodile is listed as critically endangered, with less than 250 mature adults left in the wild. COTW has two pairs of DNA-pure, Siamese crocodiles and in August 2014, Hugo and Rebecca laid the first Siamese crocodile eggs in the UK with all eight hatching.
Crocodiles of the World also has its star crocs including Kajsa, a Nile crocodile, who arrived from Malmö, Sweden after a police raid on a warehouse of a suspected illegal trader. Another Nile croc has also been rehomed at Brize Norton, after it was discovered in Beirut River, Lebanon. Well outside the natural habitat for crocodiles, it’s believed the croc was illegally imported as a pet and once it got too large released into the wild.
CTOW is definitely worth a visit, both kid and adult friendly, it’s an amazing place to learn about these crocodilian. There’s also a number of other critters keeping them company. After our recent visit to the Everglades we saw three American Alligators, but at Crocodiles of the World it was great to see theses giants, which can grow up to 4.6m in length, up close and personal!
You might have caught Crocodiles of the World on TV, Shaun is the Discovery Channel’s ‘Croc Man’, making his own mini-series on Channel Five and also part of BBC’s Great Animal Moves. You can catch the series on the web now.
Find the guys at www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk and an adult ticket is £8.95!