On India wildlife tour you can visit the Chennai Crocodile Bank, located 42-km from Chennai (Madras). Here you will find several species of Indian and African crocodiles and alligators.
The Chennai Crocodile Bank is situated on the way to Mahabalipuram and is run by Romulve Whittaker. About 5,000 species are kept in their natural surroundings in open pools. They can be viewed from a safe distance.
The Crocodile Bank occupies an area of 3.2 hectares and has been established with an aim to protect and conserve the endangered reptiles such as Crocodiles, Alligators, etc. The wildlife reserve offers a green bed of lush tropical vegetation, which provides ample shade to the thousands of crocodilians. The main attraction at the Chennai Crocodile Bank is the crocodile conservation center, which is the largest croc-breeding site in India.
The Bank today has about seven crocodilian species including the three Indian types. The Indian species include the 3.6 meter long Marsh/Mugger variety which is the most widely distributed species once found in all lowland water systems including the arid State of Rajasthan; the four to five meter long Gharials, the crocodile with the longest jaw which has a pot like snout; and the largest of reptiles, the Saltwater crocodiles, eight meters long and 900 kilogram's in weight, found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Sunderbans in West Bengal and in coastal Orissa.
The Madras Crocodile Bank was started in 1976 by herpetologist Romulus Whitaker. This bank was started to protect India's dwindling crocodile population and to preserve the Snake catching. This bank has already produced more than 6,000 crocodiles. There is also a snake farm where anti - venom is produced. Several species of Indian and African Crocodiles and Alligators bred in captivity are kept here in open pools. The snake venom extractions are a great attraction to the visitors and it helps the Irulas to maintain their way of life.
Although crocodiles are among the unloved creatures of the wilderness, they are known to perform a significant ecological role. As predators and scavengers, they help to raise the genetic quality of prey by selective feeding on the sick, weak and injured fish. Their presence is also known to increase river and lack productivity as they feed on predators of commercially valuable fish.
The Crocodile Bank, which disseminates scientific information collected from its on-going research projects on the biology of crocodiles, also conducts research on turtles and monitor lizards, which are the crocodile's environmental partners, found in common habitats. India has about 26 species of turtles many of which are endangered.
Captive breeding of crocodiles for the purpose of releasing them in the wild and restocking protected sites has been undertaken in river Chambal, Mahanadi and in Andhra Pradesh. But releasing them in unprotected sites is not viable. Only in places like the Madras Crocodile Bank have these earliest of reptiles found their guarantee for survival.
Located 42-km from Chennai.The Crocodile Bank is about 35 km south of Chennai (Madras) city on the scenic East Coast Highway, en route to Mamallapuram. Coming from Chennai, it is about 5 km beyond Kovalam and 14 km before Mamallapuram. There are regular buses to and from the city.
Chennai is quite accessible; it is situated at a distance of about 42kms. Is the nearest airport with both domestic and international terminus. Chennai is connected with all the major places in India through the numerous domestic flights. International flights operate from various parts of the world to Chennai.
The nearest railway stations are Chengalpattu (29-km) and Chennai (42-km).
There are buses available from Pondicherry, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Chennai to Mahabalipuram daily. The Crocodile Bank is on the way to Mahabalipuram. Tourists can also hire a taxi from Chennai (Madras) or Mahabalipuram.
To make your travel easier, the city of Chennai offers a range of best hotels and resorts situated nearby Crocodile Bank.