Video: Dubai opens its first crocodile park in time for long Eid Al Fitr weekend

It features a host of family-friendly experiences, including a one-of-a-kind natural history museum, an African lake-themed aquarium, and large outdoor areas


Nandini Sircar

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Photos by Shihab
Photos by Shihab

Published: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 6:52 AM

Last updated: Sat 22 Apr 2023, 3:43 PM

Animal lovers rejoice! Dubai's latest family-friendly attraction, Dubai Crocodile Park, opens its doors just a few days ahead of Eid-al Fitr. Housing 250 snappy Nile Crocs in a 20,000 square metre facility, the park hosts reptiles of all ages, all thriving in a climate-controlled environment.

Visitors will get to experience 150 adult crocs, out of which 30 are male, and 120 are female. This has been deliberately done to maintain the 1:4 ratio.

Eight years in the making, the park is tucked in Dubai’s Mushrif, right next to Mushrif Park. Tickets are priced at Dh95 for adults and Dh75 for children between 3 and 12.

The park also features a host of family-friendly experiences, including a dedicated one-of-a-kind natural history museum, an African lake-themed aquarium, and large outdoor landscaped areas.

Visitors are offered the opportunity to witness the magnificent creatures from various points of view, and can enjoy feeding them at the multiple feeding stations.

Additionally, the park boasts multiple dining outlets and has a unique African vibe that runs throughout its architecture and landscape.

All the big ones are male crocodiles that usually reach 4.5m in length but it’s explained it’s not a question of size alone that acts as a differentiator. The shape of snot is different as well. The male is equipped to fight during the mating season, so it has a stronger and larger snot. All the crocodiles in the park are the same age. The male are 25 years old, and the female crocodiles are around 20 years old. The female cros have arrived in Dubai from South Africa and the male crocs have come from a park in Tunisia. They live up to an average age of 70-80 years just like humans. They can also reach up to 100 years.

During courtship displays males click their jaws with a noise that can be heard several kilometers away. By vibrating their backs, they emit low frequency waves that make the water vibrate. The depth of the ponds (1.5m to 2m) has been designed to allow crocodiles to mate underwater, as in nature.

Mouth gaping as an effective thermoregulatory device

An animal lies ashore with its mouth held open for a prolonged period. The crocodile in this picture is regulating its body temperature. Crocodiles can’t maintain the body temperature in the same way as mammals do. The best temperature for the crocodiles is 30 to 32 degrees Celsius. In this temperature they digest well, their immune system functions properly. So, all the time they strive to maintain this temperature. When oriented in this way crocodiles will often open their mouths, allowing the brain to cool through evaporative cooling, while the rest of the body is heating. This “mouth-gaping” posture, however, is also a behavioural display, used even at night, or when it is raining.

Inside the museum

Determining incubation temperature
Determining incubation temperature

The eggs develop between 28 and 34 degrees Celsius. For the Nile crocodile, this temperature is maintained due to the depth of burial of the nest, the nature of the soil and the number of suns. In the case of a mound nest, the decomposition of the plants ensures the incubation temperature.

This picture shows the different stages of the crocodile as it grows slowly inside the egg till the time it is hatched. The crocodile sex is determined by the temperature during the first 15 days of incubation period. For the Nile crocodile, a temperature of 28 to 30 degree Celsius and 33 to 34 degree Celsius determines females and a temperature of 30 to 33 degree Celsius determines a majority of males. Incubation lasts about 90 days.

There are about 40 hatchlings or young crocodiles in the aquarium that were all born in the park less than a year ago. They are currently about four months old. One day they will reach a size of more than 5m.

Egyptian crocodile mummy

They were considered the embodiment of the god Sobek. Crocodiles were raised and worshipped in the Egyptian temples dedicated to the deity. When they died, they were mummified and then displayed in the temples or buried, gathered together in vast necropolises

60 juvenile crocodiles thrive in carefully monitored aquarium

A woman watches one of the juvenile crocodiles who is around five years old, swimming with its short but powerful legs inside the aquarium. The forefeet have five toes. The hind legs, which have only four toes, are more powerful and webbed, which helps it to propel through the water.


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