Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

Weather :

Timings : Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM.
The last ticket is given out not later than 5:00 PM, so try to be there before that.

Night Safari: Tuesday - Sunday: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Closed on Mondays

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : For regular entry:
Adult: INR 60
Children (below 10 years): INR 30
For Night Safari entry:
Adult: INR 200
Children (below 10 years): INR 100

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Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Chennai Overview

The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is the brainchild of revered herpetologist and wildlife activist Romulus 'Rom' Whitaker - an initiative to keep the fading species of crocs in subcontinent safe. Initially, the Croc Bank was built to keep the crocodiles safe and help them breed and multiply until they were fit enough to be returned to their natural habitat, and thus replenish the nature's stock. However, due to lessening wilderness, this practice has been stopped. They are now given home in the Crocodile Bank itself and are open for the public six days of the week.

The Madras Crocodile Bank is not to be confused with a zoo. Yes, you can certainly take a look at the reptiles in captivity. However, unlike a zoo, this has a much more in-depth operation through ex-situ and in-situ conservation. Right now, it is home to around 17 croc subspecies and some other reptiles like frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles as well, some of which have been listed by IUCN as critically endangered. Visitors can witness all these slithering species at one place and also indulge in the various fun activities that the park has arranged for its guests like the night safari, guided tours, and feeding programmes. The Croc Bank is a great place to spend a day of learning, witnessing rare wilderness and having fun at the same time. If you are a wildlife enthusiast and activist and want to make a difference, you can volunteer for programmes, make donations or adopt an animal too from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

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The Irulas at Crocodile Madras Bank Trust

The Irulas which are an Indian tribe residing in the southern forest villages and famous for their snake-hunting skills are a quintessential part of the park. Whitaker formed an industrial cooperative with them, where they as a society help in hunting snakes and extracting venom from them before letting them loose again. This venom is sold to the anti-venom industries to manufacture snakebite medicines.

Activities at Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

Feeding of Jaws III
One of the biggest attractions of the park is a saltwater crocodile called Jaws III – the famous giant shark monster from the movies. It got its name from its 16 feet length, almost a ton weight and fierce nature. It is the largest captive crocodile in the country. Thanks to his violent behaviour, he had to be kept in a separate enclosure without any female mate – he would chase everyone out. Nevertheless, he is the most prominent celebrity of the park. Every Sunday afternoon at 4:30 PM, his feeding is opened for the public to see. It is an excellent opportunity for visitors to witness the majestic beast at its meal.

There are other feeding programmes at 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 5:30 PM as well.

Underwater Gharial Exhibit
There is an exhibit with a magnificent gharial in an aquarium which is maintained much like its natural habitat, along with companions like freshwater turtles and schools of fish for the creature to feed on. It is an experience to see the gharial move around with its wild grace amidst the green water and weeds.

Overnight Adventure Camp
The Croc Bank lets you spend a night and two days in the park as a part of their tourism and education activities. In these two days, you can sit through interactive seminars about herpetology, go for a walk on nature trails and experience snake hunting with the Irula people. A minimum of 6 people are needed to arrange the overnight stay.

Zoo Keeper for a day
You can become a zookeeper for a day and assist the train caretakers by getting inside the enclosures and feed the reptiles. No need to worry, you will be under supervision and protection of professionals throughout.

Guided Tours and Anecdotes
The guides of the Croc Bank facility will take you around the place, sharing their own experiences and anecdotes with each of the reptiles and other exciting stories that happened in the park. They will also talk about the various species and their unique characteristic, eating and breeding habits and so on.

Night Safari
The night environment in the Crocodile Bank is nothing like the day. In the night safari, the visitors can experience the never-seen-before side of these aquatic reptiles. In the comfort of the silence of darkness, they indulge in their territorial disputes, mating, and other activities around their enclosure ponds.
The night safari guests can see all these first-hand. They will be provided with torches and escorted around the park by trained guides, so there is nothing to worry about. The hundreds of glowing red eyes in the dark is a chilling experience - one that you will remember your whole life.

Conserved Species at Crocodile Madras Bank Trust

The park was originally started for the three species of crocodiles found in India – the muggers, saltwater or estuarine crocodiles and the very rare gharial or the Gangetic crocodiles. Other than that, there are 11 more croc species from around the world which are kept here, like the American alligators, spectacled caiman, dwarf crocs, freshwater crocs, African slender-snouted croc, Nile crocs and the endangered Siamese crocodile and some more. The Bank also has many other reptile species like snakes, lizards, frogs, and turtles.

Among the snakes, there are the cobra, viper and krait among the venomous ones, and boa, keelback, rat snake and pythons among the non-venomous ones. The place also houses geckos, monitors, chameleons, common lizards and a variety of frogs and toads as free-ranging reptiles. The Bank has also collected new species of caimans and crocodiles found in the rainforests of South America. Anacondas have also been added to the captive display. In 2016, four Komodo dragons from New York were brought and added to the exhibit list.

Crocodile Madras Bank Trust Field Trips

The Madras Crocodile Bank lets schools and colleges arrange field trips and excursion for their students. Students specializing in biology, especially in herpetology, will have a great academic as well as fun experience at the Bank.

Crocodile Madras Bank Trust History

Back when hunting was still a popular sport in India, and no environmental or wildlife laws were there to protect them, crocodile hunting grew to be an excellent source of entertainment among the hunters. However, when the Indian Government passed the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the three subspecies of crocodiles found in India was listed under its protection. However, it was not enough to replenish the almost wiped out croc population of the subcontinent.

In such a time, Romulus and Zai Whitaker founded the Crocodile Bank in 1976 to help the government serve the purpose by running a private crocodile reserve of their own. This later became the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Center for Herpetology in 2003 after it took in snakes, lizards, and turtles as well. Romulus is a several award winner herpetologist, and Zai is an author, but both of them are equally enthusiastic about wildlife conservation and activism, especially reptiles.

How To Reach Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is located around 45 km south of Chennai, along the beautiful Bay of Bengal. Any bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw that goes via the East Coast Road can be availed to reach the place. You can also hire your own vehicle in case you are going for the night safari. You will not have to worry about your trip home.

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