Crocodile World, near Desaru (August 2016)

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Just a short drive away from Kota Johor Lama, and about a 30 min drive from Desaru on the east coast of Johor, is Crocodile World; the largest collection of crocodiles in peninsular Malaysia!

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Our first site of crocodiles was an arrangement of skulls in the front of the gift shop. 

Then we were introduced to a ‘baby’ crocodile which turned out to be 3 years old. Apparently, you can ‘bonsai’ a crocodile by not overfeeding it. So, this little guy had been fed on shrimp rather than chickens. And, because it had been handled regularly, it was safe to touch the animal as long as the owner kept a good hold of it. He explained that the crocodile could sleep with one eye open, and showed us its mouth which lacks a tongue, as we know it, but can raise the soft part at the bottom of its mouth to push food down its throat. The soft underside of its lower jaw serves as a motion (prey) detector when in water.

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If this crocodile had been better fed, it could have ended up looking like these:

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Next, we were guided around the enclosures holding crocodiles in a huge variety of colours and sizes. Our guide, shown below, was the grandson of the original owner of this Crocodile World. The crocodiles initially came from the nearby Johor River, and were housed as a tourist attraction rather than farmed to produce meat and leather. Today you can purchase crocodile meat here, but the Crocodile World still functions primarily as a tourist attraction.

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The oldest crocodiles here are over 150 years old; they are massive in size and flabby in tone! Some crocodiles are born deformed (often tail-less) and have to be kept separate from the others to prevent bullying.

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It was midday when we visited the crocodiles, and most were sleeping in the shade, so the guide prodded them with a very long stick, and did they move?

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We walked around the enclosures surrounding a crocodile-filled lake, and saw a crocodile nest. Apparently, breeding crocodiles here is not very efficient though as it is not hot enough!

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Our guide also showed us the inate value of palm oil trees. He picked up some fruit husks from the ground and, after a brief exposure to a cigarette lighter, hot flames exuded from the husks. These would make great firelighters for a BBQ!

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With our visit to the Crocodile World over, we walked out towards the Johor River where construction was going on to bring electricity across the river.

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Look closely at the two photos above and spot the ominous blue-grey sky. As we drove back towards Desaru, this rain cloud followed us until it dumped its contents onto the land with great force. Thankfully, we were under cover having a late lunch at Desaru Fruit Farm, as Malaysian rain is the fiercest rain I have come across! The photo below shows the rain drops plummeting into the lake at Desaru Fruit Farm, which, by the way, serves up really delicious fresh fruit drinks!

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So, if you are interested in visiting Crocodile World, it is open daily from 9 am to 6:30 pm (Tel 07 8955 220), and its address is Lots 1289 & 1290, Jalan Sembilan, Kampung Belading, Teluk Sengat, 81940 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.

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