Perhaps only in Andalusia, traditionally Spain's most laid-back region, could keeping alligators as pets ever have been legal – and even there, since 2008, there has been a ban. But after a two-metre, 70kg 'gator was discovered living at a lake near Mijas on Andalusia's Costa del Sol last month, in any case no one in the region needs reminding of the former regulation.
For now, "Costa Croc", as the alligator has been nicknamed by local British tourists flooding the region for the Easter holidays, has only been spotted twice and it is most likely hibernating. Tracks left by the animal, though, indicate it is between 12 and 18-years old and in weak physical condition.
Alligators can go for months without food and it is unlikely to become active until May, when local temperatures rise above 23C. Meanwhile, a lookout tower has been installed near the lake and four large signs reading, "Grave danger! Crocodile on the loose", have been put up to try to keep the public away. Unfortunately, the signs have tended to have the opposite effect, with tourists lining up to have their photos taken next to them.
As for why Costa Croc has been let loose, experts have suggested it's due to a lack of space or regulations insisting the animals be handed in. But the recession may also be to blame.
Since 2008, tens of thousands of pets have been abandoned on Spain's roadsides by their newly impoverished owners. And when it comes to having an animal round the house, keeping a crocodile in your fish pond is probably not the cheapest option. Nor, for that matter, the cuddliest.
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as King's Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...