You can check my Tamil Nadu trip blog soon.
Crocodile bank is known as Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology (MCBT). It is located around 40km south of city of Chennai on ECR road. It was established in 1976 by Romulus Earl Whitaker to save endangered Indian crocodile species, namely Marsh (mugger) crocodile, Gharial and salt-water crocodile. Shielded by the natural bounty of coastal dune forests, the Crocodile Bank is an ideal sanctuary for not just the crocodiles but also water birds and Olive Ridley Sea turtles. Out of total 18 living species, MCBT have 14 species of crocodile from the world. The bank currently houses over 2,600 crocodiles and also many species of turtles, snakes, and lizards which are viewable by the public.
One of the biggest attractions of the park is a salt-water crocodile known as Jaws III (around 17 feet long). This species, believed to be the biggest in southern Asia and largest captive Crocodile.
You can reach to Crocodile Bank (MCBT) from Chennai (40km on ECR road) or from Pondicherry (110km). There are public transport buses available from Chennai’s T. Nagar or Koyembedu bus depot.
Travellers for this trip was me and my wife Renuka
|Crocodiles of the World|
8th Feb 2014 Chennai – Crocodile bank – Pondicherry via Mahabalipuram:
We arrived at Chennai from Pune by morning flight. I had booked a car for Pondicherry journey and it was waiting for us. Without wasting any time, we headed towards Crocodile Bank (MCBT). Soon we reached ECR road. Paddy fields on ECR are home for many birds. We saw many wetland birds like painted stork, glossy ibis, black capped ibis, open billed stork, grey heron, purple moorhen and many other beautiful birds.
After an hours journey, we reached our first destination. We parked our vehicle on road side as no proper parking was available. Being a Saturday there were hardly any tourists. When we entered their zone, first thing we spot was a large pond full of Marsh crocodile. It’s really fascinating to watch the crocodiles as they lie around, with their mouths open, doing nothing and suddenly, when you think it’s time to move on because nothing much is going to happen, they move forward, just one swift move and they dive into the water. We both love wildlife and we were watching hundreds of crocodile in front of us.
As we got to know that they have 14 different species of crocodile, we decided to watch them all. Many visitors were just watching other crocodiles and moving ahead. There are a lot of information boards which tell you very detail information about crocodiles. Crocodile is not just an attraction here as you can see 10-11 different spices of turtles. We spend around 2 hours looking all ponds/pits having beautiful crocodiles. Most of the crocodiles were either basking in sun or busy in taking a bath in water. We saw all crocodiles but personally I like Jaw III which is salt water crocodile, Gharial, Nile crocodile, American alligator, Australian fresh-water crocodile and Morelet's crocodile. We saw many species of turtle and snakes inside the park. Major attraction is Aldabra giant tortoise. Aldabra tortoise is the second biggest tortoise of the world. There were three Aldabra tortoises and the size of each was like big stone.
Apart from Crocodiles, we saw many birds on trees in this bank area. The bank also functions as a natural shelter for a variety of birds, enabling bird-watching. Most of them are common egret and large egrets. But when I started looking carefully, I was able to spot more than 20 different spices around the bank area. Commonly seen birds or which I saw during my 2/3 hours were White throated kingfisher, pied kingfisher, Great Egret, Little Egret, Wagtails, Black kite, Black capped night Heron, Sunbirds, paradise flycatcher (Female) and many more.
|Black capped night Heron|
|Birds at Crocodile Bank|
After checking all types of crocodiles, we wanted to clear some doubts hence we approached the staff members. We had a healthy discussion on these beautiful reptiles. They asked us to join the 30 min session conducted by experience volunteer. This session was about detail information on crocodile life cycle, about their habitat, their attacking skills, their plus points and nature etc. Crocodiles have acute senses, an evolutionary advantage that makes them successful predators. The eyes, ears and nostrils are located on top of the head, allowing the crocodile to lie low in the water, almost totally submerged and hidden from prey. Also during this session, volunteers showed us a baby crocodile. It was amazing to feel strong baby crocodile so closely. Many people were asking them why water quality is so poor or kind of muddy. The answer we got from them was that they are living in their natural habitat. I believe, crocodile required such kind of natural habitat in which they feel more comfortable. You can ask them as many question and they are happy to answer you.
|Marsh Crocodile - Sun basking|
Spices which are found in world are 1.American crocodile 2.Slender-snouted crocodile 3.Orinoco crocodile 4.Freshwater crocodile 5.Philippine crocodile 6.Morelet's crocodile or Mexican crocodile 7.Nile crocodile or African crocodile 8.New Guinea crocodile 9.Marsh crocodile or Indian crocodile 10.Saltwater crocodile 11.Dwarf crocodile 12.Cuban crocodile 13.Siamese crocodile 14.Desert crocodile.
For the first time in my travel blog I have created Small video/Documentary on Crocodile bank along with information given by Sandeep who is one of the staff members. Hope you will like it.
Make a note that weekly off is on Mondays, so plan accordingly. The place is open from 8:30 AM till 5:30 PM. Overall really good place and we should visit such place to understand this beautiful reptiles.
- Car Parking: INR 20/-
- Entry fee: INR 35/- per person
- Camera Chargers: INR 20/-
- Camcorder: INR 100/-
- Snake park entry fee: INR 10/- per person
After this beautiful location we went for Mahabalipuram and then to Pondicherry.Soon will publish travel blog on my Pondicherry-Rameshawaram-Kodaikanal trip.
I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.