Rare Croc Killed in Zoo Mating Gone Wrong

Male false gharial suffocated female

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 20, 2014 11:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Dutch zoo's attempt to breed a rare, endangered crocodile went terribly wrong when the female half of the horizontal tango died in the act, the zoo revealed yesterday. While mating, the male false gharial crocodile usually holds the female down with his mouth "to show his superiority," the zoo explained, according to the AFP. The female "accepted this behavior," but that turned out to be unwise. "She eventually died of suffocation," the zoo said, with multiple bite marks around her neck.

Only about 2,500 false gharials are believed to still exist, and only 10 zoos have any. That's why Amsterdam's Artis zoo was attempting to mate the crocodiles, as part of a special European breeding program, the NL Times reports. The zoo had brought this female in to supplement an existing couple that hadn't mated, and had remodeled the enclosure to improve the mood. (More unusual crocodile news: A study has found they can climb trees.)

A Tomistoma schlegelii, or false gharial, is seen in this photo.
A Tomistoma schlegelii, or false gharial, is seen in this photo.   (Fritz Geller-Grimm / Wikimedia)
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