Saturday, 7 December 2013

Guangzhou Crocodile Park - 27 Nov 2013

On our arrival day to Guangzhou, the weather was perfect, ie sunny around 24C. Weather forecast to be cloudy the day after, but the boys were so eager to visit an animal park. Early morning, the weather was fine so we went ahead to the Crocodile Park, about 15 mins away by shuttle bus from the Chimelong Resort. It's the smallest park within the resort and entrance fees were reasonable (Adult RMB90 & Child RMB45 but child rates go according to height, not to age in China). My boys take after our height, so we've to pay the fees for 3 adults and 1 child.

The name 'CrocoPark' is deceiving as this park is like a zoo with all sorts of animals. Another thing is we didn't expect this so-called 'smallest' park to be SO HUGE, so don't be deceived by the term 'park' in China. It got its name CrocoPark cos it's the world's largest crocodile park with more than 100,000 crocodiles!

It's really a good training ground for us before we explore other bigger animal park in Chimelong. At the park, we got the show time schedule as well as the map. It's very odd cos they've "back-to-back" animal shows every 1/2 hour from opening to closing time. So should we hop from one show to another, we practically have no time left to explore the "huge" park?? Strange huh! One more thing, all shows are in Chinese!

We're the first few audience at the Reptile show, but some people joined us later on. Kids were thrilled cos they're allowed to touch some of these creatures. Jin was slow to warm up, but Wei was very enthusiastic as usual.

Huge rodents that could swim so well. This park has a very good collection of different rodent species that we've never heard of like the Nutria, weird groundhog, Chinese bamboo rat, etc. Wonder why they're part of the Reptile show??

An impressive waterfowl show - unbelievable they could do a show with different birds and ducks. The park has an impressive collection of bird species especially cranes, swans, peacocks, pelicans and the more common flamingos, storks and mandarin ducks. The cranes were like the crown jewels with species like Crowned crane, Demoiselle crane, Hooded crane, Red-crowned crane, Siberian White crane, etc. There's even the albino White peacock!

The weather changed so fast and temperature has dropped drastically. We're freezing!!!!

The crocodile wrestling show was the highlight as we saw the seats were filled up quickly. The performers were Thai nationals, and they did some daring stunts, putting their lives at risks for a living like putting a balloon in the croc's mouth and taking it out on a skateboard with their mouth. 

Before every stunt, they would use a stick to rub the sides of the croc's mouth as well as its snout as if to tell the crocs they don't mean any harm, just like the birds who routinely sticks their heads in a croc's mouth to eat the bits of meat between the teeth. To the crocs, the birds are like their toothpicks!

What bird cleans the inside of the croc's mouth?
Answer: Plovers

The crowd leaving right after the croc's show, and a light drizzle started until the end of day....

We have almost the "whole" park to ourselves!!!

We decided to skip some shows so at least we have some time to explore the park and animals. They have a big collection of crocs species, like the crocs without tails, some short tails, as well as the rectangle Chinese bamboo rat like the size of a puppy, and also the hybrid squirrel and rodent creature.

We also noticed the ground staff were busy setting warm lightings in all the different sections of the crocs gallery. Crocs can't stand cold weather so they've to keep them warm. Even the iguana was resting on a hot pad to keep it warm!

Baby crocs soaking in warm water while waiting for the workers to install warm lightings. Where in the world you can even touch a baby croc????? We're so so excited. Even babies bite, so we've to be extra careful!!

At the croc nursery with a 2-year old croc!! The mouth was muzzled of course. Cos of the cold snap, it's not as active. We forgot the biting cold from the wind and drizzle for a moment. See the croc eggs - NO wonder this is the biggest croc park in the world. Trays and trays of eggs - what are they going to do with them? I don't believe they breed the crocs solely for conservation.

A comparison of size - croc eggs were 2nd from Left, whilst the largest eggs belong to the ostrich!

Normally, this lake is a favourite with visitors - they've a chance to feed the crocs with meat but due to the cold snap, the crocs were hibernating in the lake. But you could see them everywhere. During winter, they only eat like 3 times a month.

Everywhere in the park, you could see vegetables and plants, like gourds, pumpkins, squashes etc. There's a garden with oversized vege & fruits we didn't have time to explore. But it's cool to see some of them here and there.

 China Boleh-land, the one and only in the world - the Pig Diving show, from small to adult pigs and even wild boars! They could even jump over hurdles!

Some other shows we saw, though not as popular, but still entertaining. We missed quite a few but it's ok. First time we saw a Black pelican, like a rose among the thorns. Towards the end, we realised there's even a show of dogs and cats - wonder how they gonna do that!!

The park has a VERY impressive "Amphibian and Reptile House" with good varieties of lizards, frogs and toads, snake, tortoises, salamanders and water monitors. There's also a nocturnal animal house of different owl species and flying squirrels. It would indeed be a shame if we miss these and only concentrate on the shows.

Ideally, you need 2 days to have a meaningful exploration of the park, one for shows and one to visit all the galleries. If you've only a day, then plan carefully and do not only focus on the shows. There's much more to the park than the shows. Some shows were purely entertainment to us, and not necessary. But maybe they need a good variety to draw in the visitors as there's too much competition from other animal parks around. The park does need to lot of revenue to sustain such varied species and increasing number of animals.

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