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Yikes! 15,000 Crocodiles Escape Farm In South Africa, Area Evacuated

His cousins are on the loose. (2008 file photo taken at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa.) i i

hide captionHis cousins are on the loose. (2008 file photo taken at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa.)

Warren Little/Getty Images
His cousins are on the loose. (2008 file photo taken at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa.)

His cousins are on the loose. (2008 file photo taken at the Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa.)

Warren Little/Getty Images

As flood waters rose Sunday, a South African crocodile farmer near the border with Botswana was forced to open his gates to prevent a storm surge from destroying the property.

And, no, this isn't the plot of some horror flick:

About 15,000 crocodiles escaped, according to the local newspaper, Beeld.

The Guardian writes that "although 'a few thousand' have since been recaptured, including one at a school rugby ground 75 miles away, more than half of the reptiles are still at large."

One family, according to the BBC, had to be rescued from their flooded home as "crocodiles were swimming around them."

The Guardian adds that "animal safety experts warned the public to stay indoors and away from the crocodiles." Which sounds wise to us.

While the crocodiles presumably vary in size, photos posted on the farm's website show that some are quite big — including at least one that's more than 18 feet long. The Rakwena Crocodile Farm's curio shop boasts "a wide variety of crocodile leather belts, hats, purses and rifle slings." Also, "light lunches can be booked and tasty crocodile meat dishes are available."

One more kind of creepy note: Beeld says most of the crocs are being captured at night, when it's easier to see them because their eyes shine red.

Many of the crocodiles, by the way, escaped into the Limpopo River — the "great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River" of Rudyard Kipling's short story The Elephant's Child, in which the "Elephant's Child asked a fine new question. ... 'What does the Crocodile have for dinner?' "

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