Birds and crocs flock together

The Madras Crocodile Bank was created in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker to “promote the conservation of reptiles and amphibians and their habitats through education, scientific research and captive breeding”. This unique wildlife park was originally created in an attempt to save the Indian Marsh (mugger), gharial and salt-water crocodile species. The efforts made are focused on Indian species but they have several other species. The bank also re-release crocodiles/reptiles back into the wild, almost throughout India.

Crocodiles have the most powerful bite among any reptile on earth – no wonder they are scary creatures! However they are genetically closer to birds than snakes and lizards. Weird but true. Also, crocodiles lay-eggs to reproduce and their eggs are stored in nest-holes (in land) for 60-110 days, before hatching. The temperature of incubation mostly determines the sex of the off-springs.

This park is making huge efforts in research and conservation (it has bred over 5 thousand crocodiles over the years) and even as a tourist destination, definitely a great stop on the way to Chennai. 

A balancing act?

The ButterBall or Krishna’s Butter Ball is a rock that has been defying gravity for over 1200 years. It is 20 feet high and 5 meter wide rock estimated to weigh over 250 tons almost a perfect sphere but not quite. Whilst it is known now (and for the pst 50 years) as Krishna’s Butter Ball, its original name means “Stone of The Sky God” in Tamil: Vaanirai Kal. 

A random story about this “ball” is that in 1908 the Governor of Madras decided that the stone might be dangerous for nearby homes and asked for it to be removed by the help of elephants. An elephant can carry up to 9 tons; to attempt to move the Butter Ball they employed seven elephants. The carrying power of 63 tons and the rock could not be moved so the task was abandoned. 

The rock is situated in a flat surface that is so slippery it becomes the perfect slide for kids during lunch break. Or for a couple of childish tourists…