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Unnamed Toronto Man Hands Over Massive Illegal Reptile Collection to Animal Sanctuary

It's still unclear how he physically fit 150 full-grown crocodiles into one house.
August 13, 2015, 8:42pm

Crocodile pile. Photo via Flickr user Spiterman

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There are all kinds of people in the world: some people like to have a dog or cat waiting for them at home, while others prefer a pet-free existence. Others keep whole menageries around, furry and winged and otherwise.

Then there are people like the mysterious Toronto resident who recently called an animal sanctuary for help and was discovered to have been keeping around 150 full-grown crocodiles, alligators, and caimans in his home. The man had understandably had too much after about ten years of tending to the animals, and called the zoo to remove them from his home.

Bry Loyst, who works with the Indian River Reptile Zoo and helped pick up the reptiles, said none of them were smaller than a yard, and many were more than nine feet long.

"I could not believe that somebody had that many crocodilians and raised them to adulthood. These were not baby little crocodiles," he told CBC's Metro Morning. "They were adults."

Apparently, while it contravenes a Toronto city bylaw, it's not altogether uncommon for people to keep babies from the crocodile/alligator/caiman trifecta as pets, though they often become overwhelmed by the time the animals reach maturity.

Enterprising citizens often raise babies to sell as pets, as well—Loyst guessed that the man in question had begun with that intention and then "fell in love with the crocodiles" and decided to keep them. That he managed to keep them into their adulthood is why this mysterious pet collector's brood was so remarkable (well, that and the sheer volume of his living reptile collection).

It took 20 people, four 26-foot trucks, and dozens of construction-grade cardboard tubes to move the reptiles, but despite the hard work it entailed, Loyst said everyone involved was ready and willing to participate.

"Everyone was just excited and enthusiastic to be involved, because it's such an unusual situation," said Loyst. "It was a lot of fun and tiring."

The Toronto man "did the right thing" by calling to have them taken to an animal sanctuary, Loyst said. And he did it at the right time, as well. The zoo is currently constructing a million-dollar building to house large reptiles, of which it already has more than 400.

Meanwhile, a single (non-poisonous) ball python was seen in Metro Vancouver this week, near Simon Fraser University. It's still on the loose, but come on, Vancouver: just one python? Really?

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