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Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

Located in Chennai city, in Tamil Nadu, India is The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust It is also a herpetology research station and reptile zoo. The centre is registered both as a trust and also as a recognized zoo under the 1972 Act for Wildlife Protection. It is India's premium institution for hereto faunal conservation and research. The bank comes under the supervision of the Environment and Forests Ministry, under the care of Central Zoo Authority. It is also the first crocodile breeding centre in Asia. It was initiated with the objective of saving three Indian endangered species of crocodile. The Indian Government took responsibility to protect the mugger (Crocodylus paluster), the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), and the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) which were nearly becoming extinct at the time the trust was being founded.


By the 1970s, crocodile populations were severely depleted because of hunting of Indian crocodilians for their skin which was in a large scale and for commercial purposes. Hence, herpetologist Romulus Whitaker and his wife Zia Whitaker with the help of likeminded people like Rajamani conceived the Madras Crocodile Bank in 1973 and initiated it in the year 1976, on 26th August. In 1975, the Government of India got into a pact with the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The launch of the Indian Crocodile Conservation Project gave the real thrust for captive breeding of crocodiles. Their endeavor was to conserve India's declining crocodile numbers and to conserve the trade of snake catching. The Bank developed a breeding program for freshwater tortoises and turtles to be held in the closed confines in 1981. In 1989, it bred Gharials initially and successfully.


14 species of the world’s 23 living crocodilian species have made this Bank their home. The species existing in the bank are Siamese crocodile, American alligator, Morelet's crocodile, West African dwarf crocodile, dwarf caiman, gharial, spectacled caiman, Australian fresh water crocodile, Yacare caiman, tomistoma, African slender-snouted crocodile, salt-water crocodile, Nile crocodile and Mugger.

Presently there are over 2,400 crocodiles and species of turtles, snakes, and lizards which are open to public viewing. 5 species of snakes, including king cobra, water monitors, 12 endangered species of turtles and tortoises, water monitors are also inhabitants of this Bank. Muggers, the native Indian species represent 3,000 of the 5,000 reptiles bred at the Bank. Jaws III, the fierce salt-water crocodile which is 17 feet long and weighing over a ton is one of the major attractions of the park. Four new species of crocodiles, the black caimans, Smooth-fronted caimans, Cuban crocodiles and Broad-snouted caimans will also become part of the Bank soon. The Bank would also be the dwelling place of Anacondas soon.


Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
Centre for Herpetology,
Post Bag No 4,
Mahabalipuram, -603 104,
Tamil Nadu, S. India
Ph: +91-044-27472447
Fax: +91-044-27472958
[email protected]

Visit timing

10:00 AM to 6:30 PM on all working days, except Mondays.

Entry Fees:

Adults: Rs 35/,
Children below 10 yrs: Rs10/-.
Camcorder: 100 Rs/-