Thursday, April 25, 2013

Growing gift

Here are a few things that have happened since the people of Keyes, Mali, presented the workers at Germany's Colbitz water treatment facility with a terrarium-sized crocodile some 40 years ago:

  • Efforts to relocate the animal to the zoo or elsewhere, before and after the reunification of Germany in 1989, have been unsuccessful
  • The Nile crocodile was dubbed "Theophil" until the discovery of a clutch of unfertilized eggs 6 years ago proved that she was female and her name was changed to "Theophilia"
  • She has grown to a length of over 9' (3m) and a weight of 617lbs (280 kg)
  • Her original caretaker, Gunter Hellman, retired but returns to see her several times a year (IMAGE ABOVE)
  • She gets regular visitors and the sewage plant has sold 15,000 keyrings in her image

We used to joke that she was our water tester," says Hellman, but Theophilia does not actually live in the treated (or untreated) water.


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