A Cuban crocodile in the prime of his life, once owned by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, before finding himself in an aquarium in Stockholm, attacked a 70-year-old man delivering a speech.
According to Skansen’s aquarium on his Facebook page, the man climbed onto a raised portion of the facility and leaned against a glass fence to give a speech at an annual private event to raise funds to fight cancer and enjoy crayfish. However, in doing so, he let his arm fall on the other side of the glass barrier.
All it took was for the Castro crocodile – named after his former owner – to rush onto the unfortunate man’s arm, biting him to the elbow. According to witnesses who told the Swedish daily “Aftonbladet”, the man suffered significant arm injuries during the attack, but his limb was not completely severed by the reptile’s powerful jaw.
Fortunately for him, three doctors who attended the event were able to help him immediately, controlling the bleeding with cloth towels and a belt.
“Nothing like this has ever happened with crocodiles, and we’ve had them for over 40 years,” said Jonas Wahlstrom, aquarium director, in an interview with the daily “Aftonbladet”.
A special journey
Castro and his colleague Hillary, both of whom live in Stockholm, have had an unusual journey. These two Cuban crocodiles were given by Fidel Castro to Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov in 1978, when he was in Cuba. The latter had brought them back to Moscow, before offering them to the zoo in the capital of the former Soviet Union, when the reptiles became too big and dangerous, the Swedish daily “Svenska Dagbladet” detailed.
It must be said that Cuban crocodiles are among the most aggressive crocodiles and consider humans as prey, Mr. Wahlstrom told the “Aftonbladet”.
The duo finally landed at the Skansen aquarium in 1981, where they have remained ever since. However, about ten of their descendants were sent to Cuba in 2015 to contribute to efforts to revitalize this threatened species.