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Man Attacked by Fidel Castro’s Crocodile at Sweden Aquarium

The man, who police say is in his mid-70s, was hospitalized after he was attacked by the reptile at the Skansen Aquarium on the Djurgården Island in Stockholm.

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Updated:August 23, 2019, 12:19 PM IST
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Man Attacked by Fidel Castro’s Crocodile at Sweden Aquarium
The man, who police say is in his mid-70s, was hospitalized after he was attacked by the reptile at the Skansen Aquarium on the Djurgården Island in Stockholm.
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A crocodile once owned by former Cuban President Fidel Castro bit a man’s arm at a crayfish party in Sweden.

The man, who police say is in his mid-70s, was hospitalized after he was attacked by the reptile at the Skansen Aquarium on the Djurgården Island in Stockholm.

CNN reports the incident happened when the man was giving a speech while standing on a rock in a restricted area of the facility.

"He had his arm over the glass barrier, which is about two meters high. One of the Cuban crocodiles saw it and came and just jumped up and grabbed his lower arm," Jonas Wahlström, owner of the Skansen Aquarium, told CNN.

"Luckily there were three medical doctors at the party, so they took care of him and stopped the blood," he added. "The ambulance came and took him to hospital."

The reptile is among two crocodiles— named Castro and Hillary – brought to Stockholm in 1981 from the Moscow Zoo, which had received them from a Russian cosmonaut who in turn had received them as a gift by in 1978.

The crocodiles have since had 11 children at the Stockholm zoo, The Local Sweden reports.

Police officer Mikael Pettersson told Swedish news agency TT that the man was “heavily bandaged when we arrived on the scene.”

Wahlström told The Local that he had shouted to warn the man about the crocodile attack.

"He turned his back and the crocodile saw his hand coming down from his arm and just attacked him and bit him. Luckily the crocodile dropped him after maybe ten seconds so he could be taken care of," he told The Local.

He said the aquarium was mulling changes to prevent such incidents in the future.

"First of all, we have to change a little bit on the walls for the crocodiles so it's impossible to climb up like what he did. And we started that work today,” Wahlström said.

He said despite having the crocodiles at the facility for more than 40 years, this was the first time that someone had been attacked by the reptiles.

“But of course, even if it takes 41 years for the first time, it could happen that some other person will climb up and so we have to make it impossible," he was quoted as saying.

Considered to be an endangered species, Cuban crocodiles can grow to up to 4.5 metres in length.

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