Swedish man caught with crocodile in box at airport

Sept. 21, 2013 at 5:09 PM

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A Swedish barber caught at the airport in Gothenburg with a crocodile packed in a cardboard box says he bought the animal believing it to be a lizard.

A judge disagreed, The Local.se reported. The district court fined the 30-year-old and ordered the forfeiture of the crocodile.

"The pictures taken at customs control shows an animal that is clearly a crocodile," the newspaper Aftonbladet quoted the judge as saying.

Customs officials said the reptile was a Nile crocodile, which can grow to be 15 feet long and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds, making it the second-largest living reptile after its cousin, the saltwater crocodile. While the crocodiles when grow subsist on animals like gazelles and animals, they have been known to bite humans, sometimes fatally.

The species was almost hunted to extinction in the mid-20th century, but its numbers appear to have bounced back thanks to protected status.

The crocodile, a long way from being full-grown, was packed in a cardboard box with its jaws taped shut.

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