Larry is close to 1m and had tripled in weight to about 3kg Image Credit: Arshad Ali / Gulf News

Dubai: A baby crocodile rescued by Gulf News from traffickers almost a year ago is “growing like a monster”, an official said.

Larry has gained a whopping 2.9kg since November 2013 and now tips the scales at 3kg. It has also tripled in size, now stretching almost 1 metre.

Larry, whose gender is not yet known, has a healthy appetite – the Nile crocodile is gulping down around half a dozen sardines a day.

Adult Nile crocodiles, the largest in Africa and second only to their saltwater cousins, typically grow up to 15 feet in length and weigh about 400kg. However, larger and heavier cases have also been found.

Larry was bought by undercover Gulf News reporters from an exotic pets dealer and handed over to Dubai Zoo late last year.

It was purchased to uncover the underground sale of protected wildlife as exotic pets in the UAE.

Dr Reza Khan, a wildlife and zoo management specialist, said Larry spends his days relaxing in a shallow pond.

“There’s food available — we feed him — so he doesn’t have much else to do. He’s growing like a monster,” Dr Khan said.

Larry is slightly larger and bulkier than his pond mate, a saltwater crocodile seized by officials from smugglers in April.

In some cases, rescued animals are placed under care at Dubai Zoo.

“Both of them are getting along fine, they’re still young. But when they grow older, and realise they’re not even the same species, it’ll be time to separate them.”

Dr Khan had earlier said he believed it was the first time the “very dangerous” saltwater crocodile species was caught by authorities in the UAE.

“This is the one that kills people, it’s definitely banned for trade,” he said.

“It can grow up to 20 feet, it’s the largest and longest reptile in the world.”

The gender of both crocodiles is not yet known because of their young age.