Crocodile freezes to death in -45C on Russian circus trip

The animal bit through its styrofoam box and was exposed to the drastically low temperatures

Crocodile freezes to death in -45C on circus trip

A six-year-old crocodile has died in Russia after being transferred from one city to another.

The animal was being moved from Vladivostok to Chita, a journey of around 33 hours by road, when the vehicle he was in broke down.

The crocodile bit through the styrofoam container he was being transported in and was subsequently exposed to the freezing temperatures, the Siberian Times reports.

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A handler, named Sergey, was travelling with the reptile at the time of the incident.

He told the paper: "It was minus 45C (minus 49F) outside, there was a truck with tigers and apes in front, and reptiles were sitting in a styrofoam container which we put on the back seats of our car."

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The handler said that the crocodile had chewed a hole in the bottom of the box and as a result they weren't able to see what had happened.

Sergey added: "He went out but didn't have the brain to get back. The pythons were with him in the thermo box. They kept lying on hot water bottles and nothing happened to them."

"The crocodile was a metre and a half long. I repeat, we take all the necessary precautions: every 200 kilometres I was replacing the 'hotties', six of them, filling them with hot water.

"He wouldn't have died if he hadn't escaped... It's just a sorry coincidence. A reptile is a reptile, they have no brain."

The handler confirmed that no other animals had been affected in transit, it's thought that tigers and lions had also been on board.

Sergey also mentioned that the low temperatures had been a significant issue given that crocodiles should usually be kept in areas as warm as 45C.

He added: "I've worked in the circus for 40 years, different things happen. Any handler is afraid of moving, anything can happen."

According to the Moscow Times there are 33 circuses and 42 performance halls across Russia and the touring circuses had ticket revenues of around 1.5 billion rubles (£15 million) in the beginning of 2014 - 2015 season.

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