Friday, July 09, 2010

Langkawi Crocodile Farm

I've already been to Jong's Crocodile farm in Kuching countless times, so whats the big deal about the Langkawi Crocodile farm?

Stay tuned to find out :)

It's not a very pretty farm, but at least it houses what matters - crocodiles. There are many ponds around the farm which you can view - Periodical Pond, Breeding Pond, Bridge Pond, Feeding Pond, Show Pond and the Jumping Pond.

In real life, there no more than concrete bunkers with hardened steel cages all around them. Life must be pretty miserable for these crocs, but at least they get a good sun tan when they need it.

Show time begins. The trainers 'arouse' the crocs from the shallow pond onto the dry concrete using long sticks. You wouldn't want to try using your hands for sure.

The crocs surface onto dry land.

We're 'entertained' with a tooth brushing session. His teeth look pretty clean to me. Where's the Colgate by the way?

Now its the larger crocodile's turn.

For these risky acts, the crocodile must first be calmed down. The trainers press its back and arrange its legs symmetrically and ensure it is completely relaxed, or in trance.

How do you kiss a croc? First, give it a gentle pat on the head, like a good dog. It's important not to do any sudden movements, lest the croc gets panicky and dangerous.

Step back a little and observe.

Give its jaw a little flexing to release the jaw muscles.

Then once you *think its calm, give it a smooch.

*Of course the moment which you think the crocodile is calm is pretty subjective. It still remains a pretty dangerous animal, even though you think its just basking in the sun with its jaws open.

When a crocodile is in trance, you can climb upon its back with relative safety.

I'd prefer a hot swimsuit babe, but this is fine for now.

Now for the most dangerous part, putting your arm inside the jaws of the crocodile. Gently do it... no awkward movements, lest you'll lose your arm for eternity. Count 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...

And quickly pull your hand out of its mouth. The presenter said in a less than appealing voice that this is the 50th time that this stunt is being performed. Lets hope we will still see it happen in the future.

*When we returned to the enclosure after going around the farm, the croc was still in the exact same position as you see it with its jaws agape. That's pretty impressive..

This is the bridge pond with a whole armada of crocodiles. It can be a bit unnerving to know that the crocs are only several meters beneath your feet, and they are very dangerous.

There was a story told that an unassuming westerner placed his young child on the edge of the bridge in a similar crocodile pond in Thailand. Unfortunately the child slipped. I guess he was gone as soon as he hit the water's surface, and there's nothing that you can do about it.

In the wild, you don't find a whole heap of crocs being grouped together like this. They're extremely territorial. If a younger smaller crocodile messes with a larger one, you can be pretty sure it won't be alive for long.

Yeap.. this extremely large cold blooded predator is just meters beneath your feet. I made sure that the camera was secure in my hands as I took this pic. There's no way I'm going into the pond to retrieve it if it slips out of my hands.

*The solitary crocs which do not mix with the other crocs are presumably the more dangerous and territorial ones. They're also larger and have broader heads.

In Kuching, the feeding makes more sense (and is more entertaining too) as the trainers throw the crocs their food from a platform several meters above the crocs. Over here, this guy is just standing right in front of these monsters with a stick! God knows what will happen if 10 hungry crocs lunge at him all at once.

This is the last attraction of the park - Bujang Kawi, a large, 1 tonne (1000 kg) crocodile born with a deformed jaw without any teeth. Truth be told, you can see one small tooth poking out near to its left eye. I do wonder how does it get fed. Perhaps with some meat juice or something like that.

Being superstitious, we Chinese sometimes throw some coins on its back in the hope that it brings some luck. I think its just plain stupid to put your fate into the hands of a poor toothless crocodile.

So whats the big deal about Langkawi's Crocodile farm? There isn't much really aside from Bujang Kawi. You're better off visiting Jong's crocodile farm in Kuching, where there's a really huge white backed croc being kept in a maximum security enclosure, steel bars and all. Now that is scary.




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