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Shanghai pupil finds crocodile in school pond
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A school boy had a big shock when he found a one-meter-long crocodile in a pond at a primary school in Shanghai's Minhang District on Monday, a local newspaper reported today.

Sixth-grade student Jiang Ruitong of Xincheng School found the croc in the goose pond that afternoon, according to Youth Daily report. Its mouth was tapped shut when Jiang found it.

"I wanted to see tortoises but found a crocodile instead!" he said excitedly to the reporter yesterday.

The reptile has been sent to Shanghai Zoo for quarantine after the school called police and animal protection organizations. Experts from the zoo said the crocodile species was rare in Shanghai.

Jiang found the animal during physical education class with his classmates and reported to the school master surnamed Qi immediately.

"I thought it must be a joke. It seemed so impossible," the schoolmaster was quoted as saying. Police had a similar reaction when they received the call.

Shanghai Zoo experts said the reptile was a young Estuarine crocodile native to Southeast Asia. Mature adults grow to about 6-meters long. It is the largest of all 23 crocodile species.

The croc was moving slowly in the cold water and zoo experts caught it easily, the report said.

Nobody knows how the crocodile got into the pond and where it was from as there are no croc farms or restaurants nearby.

One expert told Youth Daily that it may have been a pet abandoned by its owner. The expert said it would be difficult to keep a mature crocodile as a pet.

The crocodile was in good health and will be kept at Shanghai Zoo, which already had two Estuarine crocodiles, the report said.

(Shanghai Daily November 20, 2008)

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