20kg crocodile is recaptured after cunning escape in Cambodia

By Robert Carmichael

Phnom Penh (dpa) – A 20-kilogram pet crocodile was recaptured in Cambodia two days after it dug its way to freedom, media reports said Tuesday.

   Cambodian police told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that the reptile had dug through its dirt-floor cage and slipped away after heavy rains Wednesday.

     “The owner kept it in a wooden cage where the crocodile could scratch at the ground, and it ran away,” said Kong Kuon, the police chief in Poipet commune in western Cambodia.

      He said the owner had kept the animal as a pet for his children.

      A group of 11 men joined the hunt for the crocodile, driven by the hope of a financial reward, said 31-year-old would-be wrangler Mean Chanthy.

      “We were thinking we would get a tip from the owner,” he said after they had helped capture the animal. “We thought we should get at least 60 dollars, but I got nothing because the police took the

crocodile.”

      Although it is illegal to keep crocodiles as pets, Kong Kuon said the owner would not be punished.

      “We did not fine him,” he said. “We just told him to be careful if he plans to keep on raising crocodiles.”

       Kong Kuon said the owner decided against taking back the runaway reptile, which is to stay chained in a pond at the local police station for the foreseeable future.