A long way from home, rare Southeast Asian crocodile surfaces in Chinese canal city

Community worker tries to subdue it by hitting it with a mop

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 3:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 5:20pm

A rare Siamese crocodile died from cold just hours after being plucked from the waters of one of eastern China’s famed canal cities, thousands of kilometres from its Southeast Asian habitat.

Community worker Chen Renjie found the 1.3 metre freshwater reptile, a critically endangered species, in a canal during a routine sanitation check in a residential area in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, on Monday, the municipal government said on its official microblog on Wednesday.

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When the croc snapped at Chen, Chen attacked it with a mop, the report said.

“I had to protect myself,” Chen said in a video posted on the microblog. “Also there were many children and old people on the street at that time and it would be dangerous if the crocodile had gone into the street.”

He knocked the reptile out, secured its jaws with tape and took it to the community administration office, but the reptile did not survive plunging temperatures on Monday night.

No details were given about how the crocodile ended up in Suzhou. Siamese crocodiles are native to Southeast Asia.