Tuesday, May 18, 2010
thestarphoenix - On Monday, a one- to two-metre long crocodilian reptile of some kind -- there are 23 species and the precise one has not been determined -- was first spotted in a lake by a local wildlife photographer, who contacted the Hamilton Conservation Authority about the strange sighting.
Bry Loyst, curator at Indian River Reptile Zoo near Peterborough, Ont., was in Hamilton Tuesday afternoon to help authorities wrangle the reptile, which is likely the product of the common, but dangerous, practice of releasing "pet" crocs when they get larger and more difficult to maintain at home.
"There are a lot of people who release their exotic pets into nature, which is not good," Loyst said in a telephone interview from the scene, where he was waiting on conservation officials to arrive to begin the rescue mission. "They can transmit viruses to our native animals, but a lot of people do that with their pets.
"Every year, we get numerous calls for all kinds of (loose) reptiles."
To subdue and capture a loose crocodile requires only bare-bones equipment for Loyst and his crew.
"A boat, some ties and some duct tape," he said when asked what was needed to get the job done.
Despite the uncertain size and temperament of the reptile, Loyst said he isn't expecting much of a conflict when the time comes to capture the croc.
He said cold-blooded crocodiles don't eat well in water colder than 18 C because their metabolism slows considerably, adding that the lake is currently below that temperature.
"He's pretty cold, so I don't think it will be too much of a fight," said Loyst, who travelled more than 200 kilometres to assist in the rescue effort.
"I guess we'll see, though, we don't even know the type of species yet."
Representatives from the Hamilton Conservation Authority were not available for comment Tuesday.
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