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One Tank Trip: Elmwood Park Zoo

Published On: Aug 17 2011 09:49:23 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 25 2010 05:36:27 AM CDT

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -

A few years ago, an abandoned alligator found her way to a zoo in Norristown, Montgomery County.

A few years later, a crocodile arrived.

And now the zoo hopes the two will keep each other company.

He's the croc with no name, drawing plenty of attention.

"I kinda like Mr. Bubbles, but I think Dundee is in the lead right now," said Bill Konstant of the Elmwood Park Zoo.

Online voters have the Aussie on top for what the Elmwood Park Zoo's newest resident should be called. His name may end up having an Australian flair, but this is an American crocodile. His new home is in Norristown.

"We needed to have one that was the same size as Penny, approximately," said Konstant. "They are few and far between. They are kind of hard to find."

Penny is a 6 foot long American alligator, a rescue who was abandoned by her owner. The name's appropriate for a few reasons, not only was she found in the Pennypack Creek, but when she first came here to the Elmwood Park Zoo kids collected pennies for Penny to help pay for her care.

"So she's going to live out the rest of her life here," said Konstant.

And now she has a new friend in tow.

The croc was confiscated by officials in Milwaukee as part of an illegal shipment of reptiles.

"A few hundred animals, and low and behold there was a 6 foot crocodile among them," said Konstant.

The American crocodile is a cousin to the American alligator and the two are joined by 300 other animals in the 16 acre zoo.

Elmwood Park was founded in 1924 when a local landowner donated six acres of land.

"And the Pa. Game Commission donated a handful of whitetail deer," said Konstant.

Over the decades, it's grown in size. But the focus remains on the animals' comfort and care.

"It's the favorite part of my day when I'm working with the animals," said Konstant.

Some are more vocal than others.

"If you hung around long enough," said Konstant, "you'd strike up a conversation with one of two of these guys.