Early yesterday morning the employees of the Jardin des Plantes were awakened by roars from the direction of the crocodile pond.
They hurried to the scene, and found two men and a woman trying to hoist a huge crocodile over the railings by means of ropes attached to the saurian’s head and tail. The crocodile was resisting and holding on to the railing with his front legs and roaring lustily.
The man and woman who were outside the railing fled on seeing the keepers, whilst the crocodile, thus partly released, furiously attacked the man inside the railing, chasing him round the pond, the man dodging and running zigzag and only escaping the brute’s rushes with difficulty.
The keepers succeeded in rescuing him, whereupon, tired out and terrified, he confessed he was an ex-Marine infantryman, had been in Madagascar, and wanted to steal the crocodile and exhibit it at fairs.
He said he would have succeeded but for the interruption, and that a “porpoise” (which is French slang for a Marine) should be able to come to an understanding with a crocodile.
He has been locked up, but refuses to give the names of his accomplices.
The Shields Daily Gazette, September 23, 1896.