Before discussing the potential dangers of keeping crocodiles as pets, it is wise to consider the legal ramifications of having any kind of reptilian as a pet. To begin with, there are international trade restrictions on most crocodiles, as many of them are endangered or even critically threatened within their natural habitats. Crocodiles bred in captivity may, however, be available in some areas.
Keeping crocodiles and other reptilian species in the UK
Classed as dangerous reptiles, it is illegal to keep crocodiles without an appropriate permit in the UK. In order to obtain such permits, hopeful owners must prove to their local council that they have the ability to keep such a dangerous animal, which could, after all, inflict serious accidental injuries to owners and visitors alike.
Proving the ability to keep reptilians
This includes the ability to provide suitable, secure and escape-proof accommodation for the animal. Prospective owners must also prove that they are experienced in handling crocodiles and fully understand the crocodile’s husbandry requirements. Subject to a fee, permits must be renewed yearly, pending successful examinations of the crocodile by qualified vets. In essence, these rules are not only there to protect the animal, but also to protect owners and others against potentially serious personal injuries.
Injuries by crocodiles
Demanding, difficult to house and handle, as well as being expensive to keep, crocodiles of all species are usually hostile by nature. For most people, only a few out of many crocodile species would be suitable as a pet, and even those will never be tame. Even being bitten by crocodiles belonging to smaller species can have serious consequences.
Crocodiles in particular tend to remain extremely dangerous and can inflict potentially fatal injuries. Fully grown crocodiles can, depending on the species, reach lengths of up to more than six metres (20 ft). Cunning, extremely fast and armed with powerful jaws packed with razor-sharp teeth; they can easily crush bones, rip off limbs and make a meal out of a neighbour. People have even been known to lose fingers, hands or even arms when bitten by a young crocodile that is still small.
If you were attacked by a crocodile kept as a pet, you may be entitled to public liability compensation. Call the 24/7 advice line on 0800 689 0500 and talk about your injury to an Accident Advice Helpline advisor.
Date Published: March 5, 2014
Author: David Brown