As an unfortunate consequence of the floods currently affecting the Paris area, the flooding of the crocodile pit of the Vincennes Zoo allowed the reptiles to escape through a drain pipe directly connected to the Paris sewer system.
Despite being located 2 km from the bed of the swollen Seine river running through Paris, the Vincennes zoo’s crocodile pit ended up submerged through the siphon effect (or communicating vessel principle) when the river level reached the critical threshold of six metres, allowing a supply pipe to deviate water from the Seine into the animal enclosure.
The latter filled extremely quickly allowing the reptiles to easily float to the level of a drain pipe which is normally inaccessible as located more than two metres above the area in which the crocodiles normally move about.
The eight reptiles are now roaming in the Paris sewer system which, it should be remembered, represents a total length of more than 2,600 km of pipes and tunnels.
The prefecture has thus made an appeal to Parisians: “If you find a crocodile in a sewer drain or in your toilet, do not touch it under any circumstances. Immediately call the Vincennes zoo which will dispatch a team of keepers to the site straight away”
Crocodiles are harmless when they are fed but after 12 hours with nothing to eat will become highly voracious and turn into particularly formidable predators capable of snapping up any pets or young children happening to pass close to sewer drains.
It only remains to hope that the reptiles are found quickly before their voracious appetite makes itself felt.