Crocodile discovered at The Lost Gardens of Heligan
1st April 2021
By Matt Dixon
Staff at The Lost Gardens of Heligan have been shocked to discover a new resident in the famous Jungle Garden.
It appears that during lockdown, an unexpected visitor has found its way into one of the Jungle Ponds.
During his morning routine checks, Heligan maintenance manager and keen wildlife photographer Andy Wilson headed to the jungle in the hope of photographing the resident kingfisher. However, he was greeted with a shocking discovery.
“I just couldn’t believe it, I was sat quietly by the Second Pond waiting to see if the kingfisher landed on its favourite perch, when a movement in the water caught my eye. We have fish in the pond, but this was something different, at first, I thought it was a grass snake the way the water was moving. Then I realised it was in fact a crocodile! I nearly fell off my bench.”
Despite the initial shock, Andy managed to grab a few shots of the creature before the reptile realised, he was there and disappeared beyond the small island in the centre of the pond.
The Heligan Team worked quickly to get the creature identified as a juvenile crocodile and have temporarily closed off the immediate area in the interest of staff and visitor safety.
“Although in keeping with the Heligan Jungle landscape, we are unable to keep the crocodile as it’s already about 1.5m long and only going to keep growing,” said a Heligan spokesperson.
“We fear it would have a detrimental impact on our resident wildlife if it hasn’t already. We can’t imagine how someone has got it here or why they have abandoned it, but we are pleased to report that we have secured it a new home at a local zoo, until investigations have been completed.”
Anyone wishing to keep an exotic and dangerous animal as a pet in the UK needs an appropriate license. Back in 2010, the Government had recorded an incredible 72 crocodiles as pets. Nobody knows if any of these has been illegally bred over the years and that one just got too much for someone during the national lockdown.
*Edit: Remember it’s April 1, folks, or more commonly known as April Fools’ Day. Thank you to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, but we can confirm, there have been no crocodiles seen.*