Dubai: The crocodile that was sold to an undercover Gulf News reporter was identified by an animal specialist as a Nile crocodile, and could be as young as one to three months old.

“We cannot say for sure where the crocodile came from, but if it was brought into the country it must have been a new born, as it is impossible to smuggle the crocodile when it was still in its egg as it needs an average of a 90-day incubation period,” said Dr Reza Khan, a specialist of wildlife and zoo management at Dubai Municipality.

When Larry the crocodile was brought into Dubai Zoo, it weighed in at 97.1 grams and measured 34.5 centimetres from snout to tail. Although the crocodile seems to look quite healthy, the authorities need to detect whether it carries any virus or diseases.

“We will then keep it in a small aquarium for at least three months and hand feed it, if necessary, with small fish or small pieces of chicken without bones. But it is still too early to tell whether it is male or female,” said Dr Reza.

“Most of the exotic animals we receive at Dubai Zoo are either donated to us or confiscated by Dubai Customs. Having exotic pets, such as crocodiles, used to be prominent in the 1990s but that is no longer the case now,” he added.

“It is extremely dangerous to have a Nile crocodile in your home because they are quite dangerous, and a fully grown one can easily harm and kill a child or even a man,” said Dr Khan.