2011-12 Happenings

Field trip to Madras Crocodile Bank

Nov 11th 2011 turned out to be a memorable day for the class 4 children. They were all taken on a field trip to the Madras Crocodile Bank which is located 42 km away from Chennai. A Volunteer guided the students through the park. They got to know that the The Madras Crocodile Bank was started in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker and his wife Zai in an attempt to protect India’s dwindling crocodile population and also to conserve the endangered species of crocodiles, reptiles and alligators. Crocodile Bank is a home to thousands of crocodiles, all of them housed in pits of varying sizes with sloping walls to enable water to collect at the centre so that the crocs can sunbathe. On the upper part of the slopes there is a separate area for snakes, in which various kinds of snakes are kept in different pots. Students had an opportunity to witness how snake venom is extracted from the snakes by the Irulas. They were awe-struck by the sight of the venom being extracted from the snakes. Croc Bank also has enclosures and pits for various kinds of turtles . Children got to know that there are 3 types of crocodiles 1) The Gharials-which are fish-eating crocodiles; 2) The Muggers; and 3) The Salt-water crocodiles. The volunteer explained that, being cold blooded, they control their body temperature by seeking shady, sunny spots or different levels in water. They often bask with their jaws open, which probably helps them to keep cool. Crocodiles will either dig a hole about 30 cms deep or pile up leaves to incubate their eggs. As cold blooded predators, they have a very slow metabolism and can survive long periods without food. The crocs do not have sweat glands and so they release heat through their mouth. The guide interacted with the children and ensured that the field trip augmented the class room learning. The students understood that, the crocodiles, once an endangered species has increased considerably because of the efforts taken by the devoted members of Madras Crocodile Bank. This indeed proved to be an informative and enriching experience for the class 4 students of Calibre Academy.

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