Candice the croc!

Say hello to Candice – our newly named West African dwarf crocodile!

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Keepers chose the moniker, submitted by Hilary Fisher from Walsall, out of dozens of suggestions on our Facebook page – well done Hilary, an adoption pack for Candice is on its way to you!

And it’s a big week for 26 year-old Candice, who arrived from Zoo des Sables d’Olonne in France last month, as she’s joined our male croc, Danzo, aged 21, in his pool in the Reptile House as part of a European breeding programme.

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Reptile Keeper, Sam Grove, said: “When Candice first arrived we kept her in a separate enclosure as she settled into DZ life. We wanted to make sure she was eating well first after her move, which she is now doing.”

To prevent injury to the crocodiles when they first met, keepers restrained them both by taping their mouths.

Sam added: “This is a commonly used restraint used with crocodiles as a preventable measure in case they caused serious injury to each other.

“Crocodiles don’t feed every day so this is a totally harmless method and the tape only remains in place for a day or two until the pair settle with each other.

“So far the process is going really smoothly and the signs look good, so now we just have to keep our fingers crossed for babies!”

Candice arrived at DZ as part of a swap with our former female, Janet, who was discovered to be a different sub-species to Danzo.

It is now hoped the pair will breed, which will ensure a genetically pure captive population, rather than a mixed, which would have happened if Janet had remained at DZ.

Female West African dwarf crocodiles typically lay up to 20 eggs once a year in a nest she builds out of rotting vegetation, which will break down like compost and keep the eggs warm.

Incubation lasts between 80 and 110 days and both parents will defend the nest from predators.