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No crocodile tears at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre as reptilian twins celebrate 16th birthday

PUBLISHED: 16:35 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:46 04 October 2017

Twin sisters Ntombi, meaning ‘lady’ in Zulu, and Masozi, meaning ‘tears’, turned 16 on Wednesday at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.
Picture: Sea Life Centre

Twin sisters Ntombi, meaning ‘lady’ in Zulu, and Masozi, meaning ‘tears’, turned 16 on Wednesday at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre. Picture: Sea Life Centre

Archant

Here are your 16th birthday presents, but please don’t bite that hands that fed you your treats.

One of the twin sisters at Sea Life Centre.
Picture: Jeremy Durkin One of the twin sisters at Sea Life Centre. Picture: Jeremy Durkin

That was message from staff at a popular Great Yarmouth tourist attraction as a snappy surprise was given to a set of twin crocodiles.

Twin sisters Ntombi, meaning ‘lady’ in Zulu, and Masozi, meaning ‘tears’, turned 16 on Wednesday at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre and the African dwarf crocodiles were treated to a present of their favourite meats in an eco-friendly gift box.

Tearing into the eco-friendly box provided a stimulating enrichment activity for the lightning fast hunters, who have a bite pressure of 1,200 lbs per square inch - twice as powerful as a great white shark.

“We had to move pretty quickly to get the present in there” said Darren Gook, lead aquarist at the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre and carer for Ntombi and Masozi.

“The girls can accelerate up to 28 miles-an-hour in the blink of an eye and we had a box of all their favourite foods, which they could smell a mile off.

“We have had plenty of training in how to care for these awe-inspiring creatures though, so it was fine, and they really enjoyed tearing their present open and finding the treats inside.”

Highly-skilled aquarists have cared for the crocodile sisters since they arrived at the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre in 2010.

Special training is always given to those who enter their enclosure, as despite African dwarf crocodiles being the smallest species of crocodile, Ntombi and Masozi are powerfully built and measure almost five-foot-long.

Their presence at the seafront aquarium has done much to raise awareness about the endangered status of African dwarf crocodiles living in the wild in western and central Africa, where they are hunted for their skin and meat, and suffer habitat destruction through deforestation.

The African dwarf crocodile is the most heavily armoured of all crocodiles species.

As adults they can hold their breath for up to an hour under water and can jump their entire body length out of water to catch doomed prey.

For information about Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre’s conservation programmes or to buy tickets to visit Ntombi and Masozi, visit www.visitsealife.com/great-yarmouth

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