A lot of people in London wonder if there are crocodiles in Thames. Such information first appeared on the media in 2002, when the veteran ornithologist Richard Fitter warned the society that global warming will transform northern Europe into a marshland.
I don’t know if this information provoked the imagination of some people, but a retired university lecturer in building sciences from West Reading claims to have seen a croc in the river lately. This is quite a disturbing statement having in mind what a damage such an animal can cause. Richard Smith, aged 64, said that he had seen the reptile while cycling by the river bank. He said that when first seeing the creature, he thought it was a big bough of a tree with four branches, but when he got closer he realised it was a crocodile. According to him the reptile was 4 ft long.
Mr. Smith decided to make an investigation on his own, and ask locals if they had seen the croc, too. He claimed that another man, to whom he had talked in a fishing tackle shop recently, had told him that he had seen a fully-grown swan being pulled under the water and disappearing. Now, when he has another witness, Mr. Smith has decided to continue investigating and to reveal the truth about the creature.
When asked how would a crocodile survive the English winter, the retired lecturer said that there were a lot of holes on the bottom of the river where the animal could fall in hibernation.
Shaun Fogget, who is a crocodile expert and a director of Crocodiles of the World in Witney, Oxon, has said that a croc could hardly survive the English summer, and wouldn’t be able to stay alive during the winter. It is not like that with alligators, though, they are a little more tolerant to low temperatures and would definitely survive the summer, but they won’t be able to acclimatise to the winter temperatures. He is sure that Mr. Smith’s croc is only a product of his imagination, though, and people have nothing to worry about.
Crocodiles are cold-blooded reptiles and predators, which hunt from an ambush. They spend most of their time waiting for land animals or fish to come close, and rush to attack them. They have a slow metabolism and can survive long time without food, but they can’t stand northern Europe’s low temperatures.