Reptiles Stolen From Australian Zoo

More than 20 exotic reptiles, including a baby alligator, have been stolen from a zoo in Australia.
Twenty-three creatures, mostly snakes, lizards and geckos, were taken from their enclosures at the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney during a night-time raid on Sunday.
The robbery is thought to have lasted about seven minutes.
The zoo's senior curator, Liz Vella, said: "They had smashed through the enclosures and broken doors.
"These guys obviously came in with the purpose of taking the animals. They definitely knew what they wanted."
Ms Vella said officials were still speculating on the motive behind the robbery, but usually such thefts were by young people who "wanted a bunch of reptiles for their home and to show off to their friends".
Another concern is that they could be destined for the black market.
Ms Vella said the black market value of the animals sold together was only about 10,000 Australian dollars (£6,000) but their value to the keepers who had cared for them, often for years, was "a lot more".
Reptile park staff said none of the animals stolen were dangerous but they feared they may not survive being pulled from their specially-controlled environments, particularly in the cool temperatures during the southern hemisphere winter.
They might also present a danger to each other if kept in close proximity.
Ms Vella said staff were devastated that the animals, which included an alligator hatchling, had been taken.
The park is appealing for information relating to the theft on its website while police are also investigating the robbery.


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