Ras Al Khaimah: A runaway baby crocodile created panic among residents of Al Rams area here for a couple of days before the owner claimed his pet.
UAE national Fahd Abdullah Juma'a said he recovered on Saturday his pet crocodile, which escaped from its pool last week.
He said the first MMS pictures of the baby crocodile roaming the seashore in Al Rams, 20km north of Ras Al Khaimah, began circulating last week.
Soon, SMS messages began circulating with claims of people sighting several crocodiles in the area, spreading fear among the public. For two days the beaches of Al Rams area were deserted.
The runaway pet was spotted by an Emirati boy on the beach. He later informed his family which captured the reptile and took it to their home.
Juma'a said he had bought the crocodile from a shop in Ras Al Khaimah city for Dh300, and it was only a couple of months old.
The shop owner told Gulf News that the crocodile was of African origin. He was unable to provide any more details of the breed of the reptile.
Juma'a said he constructed a special pool at his house which is on the seashore. He said despite the pool having all the contraptions to prevent the escape of the reptile, it got away.
Juma'a said on Friday while he was in the mosque one of his friends warned him about crocodiles roaming about the seashore near his residence. When they showed him the picture of the reptile he recognised it and began searching for it.
Juma'a said he managed to find the house of the Emirati family who had captured the reptile. The family returned his pet as soon as he contacted them, Juma'a said.
He said his small pet appears big in the pictures and that may have added to the fear in the people.
Such exotic pets can be bought in shops, he claimed adding that a number of residents keep crocodiles, some of them five-metre-long, in their farms.
Dr Saif Al Qais, a marine biology professor at the UAE University, said the crocodile is a protected species under the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
He said the UAE is member of CITES and crocodiles sold in the country are the smuggled ones. He said investigations and information gathered showed that many pet shops are selling CITES listed animals and their products.