Mombasa is a great place to view the Nile crocodile up close. Both Haller Park and Mamba Village are unique locations to view them up close and even handle them. The Nile crocodile was heavily hunted for it’s leather and was close to extinction in the 20th century. After conservation efforts, it is currently threatened in some areas, but overall it is listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List.
Crocodiles have remained largely unchanged in 200 million years, and even survived the mass extinction of their cousins, the dinosaurs. This is believed to be in part because of their adaptation to water. [src]
1: On our first stop we visit Haller Park, a former rock quarry converted to a nature park. This crocodile I call ‘Boss Man’ at Haller Park absolutely dwarves his peers. To see him leap out of the water is a frightful thing to experience. Crocodiles are sedentary most of the time, but it’s feeding time at the park, and he sees a tasty chicken carcass hanging from a cable.
2: Another photo of our massive friend nuzzled up to a smaller crocodile. There is really no comparison.
3: Another good angle of the Boss Man. According to the National Geographic, an adult Nile crocodile can be up to 16 feet long, weigh up to 500 pounds, and live to be 45 years old. They are the second largest crocodile, with their cousin the saltwater crocodile being up to 21 feet long and weighing up to 1650 pounds. [src]
4: I title this photo: Croc Salad. You can still see the Boss Man lurking in the lower left hand corner.
5: You frequently see crocodiles lounging at the waterside with their mouths hanging open. Some believe this is to catch unsuspecting prey, but it’s actually how they help regulate their body temperature.
6: Crocodiles blend very well into the aquatic environment, and are often mistaken for floating debris.
7: On our second stop we visit Mamba Village, an active crocodile farm that supplies meat to nearby restaurants and visitors. It was our last day in Mombasa, and unfortunately we got hit by a huge thunderstorm. The rain was pouring down so badly, you can clearly see it in the photographs taken with my phone. This particular pool was home to a group of juvenile crocodiles.
8: Another enclosure is home to older crocs. Can you see the odd man out? This is a rare albino crocodile.
9: If you're not distracted by my pale legs, you’ll notice I’m holding a young crocodile. At one point they did not tape the crocs mouth shut, so occasionally guests would get a nasty surprise for not handling them correctly. It doesn’t take much to bind a crocs mouth shut, because the muscles opening their mouths are pretty weak. A human is capable of holding the mouth closed on a large crocodile. Compare this to their biting force of up to 5,000 PSI for the Nile Crocodile[SRC]. This is more than enough to snap off limbs or crush a human skull.
10: If you have an adventurous palate, you can give some croc and chips a try. It was actually quite good, and tastes like chicken of course! When you eat crocodile, you are actually eating the younger ones like I am holding in the photo above.
If you make your way to Mombasa, Kenya, I highly recommend going to both Haller Park and Mamba Village to see the crocodiles. Haller Park has its own great story, which I will talk about in a future post. Mamba village is a bit touristy, but still great if you want to see crocodiles and then eat them. Mamba village is also home to the famous crocodile Big Daddy, who is 5 meters long and responsible for killing multiple people in 1986. He was brought to Mamba Village where he started to eat his fellow crocodiles. Since then he has been housed alone with two females.[src] He was concealed while we were at mamba village, so I was disappointed I could not get any photos of him.
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