Pensioner is savaged by Fidel Castro’s crocodile in Sweden 

Pensioner is savaged by Fidel Castro’s crocodile in Sweden

  • Man in his 70s was bitten by crocodile at aquarium in Stockholm Tuesday night
  • Police say he had his arm on wrong side of safety glass before he was attacked 
  • Reptile is one of two Cuban crocodiles at the aquarium, which were gifted by Fidel Castro to a Russian cosmonaut in the 1970s before being taken to Sweden
  • Aquarium says attack is the first of its kind, and police are investigating

A pensioner has been savaged by a crocodile that once belonged to Cuban leader Fidel Castro at a Swedish aquarium. 

The man, in his 70s, was attacked during a private party at the Skansen Aquarium in Stockholm on Tuesday night, local media said.

Police said the man had his arm ‘on the wrong side of the security glass’ when he was bitten by one of two Cuban crocodiles in the enclosure  

A man in his 70s was taken to hospital Tuesday night after his arm was bitten by a crocodile that was once gifted to a Russian cosmonaut by Fidel Castro at an aquarium in Sweden

He was taken to hospital with his arm ‘heavily bandaged’, though the exact extent of his injuries are unclear.

Investigators are now speaking with the man, zoo staff and witnesses in order to find out what happened. The aquarium said this is the first incident of its kind.

Skansen is home to two Cuban crocodiles – the rarest and most aggressive species of crocodile on the planet – named Castro and Hillary. 

The reptiles began their lives in Cuba, before being gifted to Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov by Castro when they were still babies in 1974. 

Shatalov flew missions as part of the Soyuz programme, and the crocodiles were intended as a show of Communist solidarity between Cuba and the Soviet Union. 

He is thought to have kept the reptiles in his Moscow apartment until they became too large, before he gifted them to the city’s zoo in 1981.

Lacking proper facilities to care for the crocodiles, they were transferred from Moscow to Skansen the same year.

They now form one of the star attractions at the aquarium, as well as functioning as an important breeding pair to ensure the survival of the species.

In 2015, ten babies born to Castro and Hillary were transported from Sweden to Cuba to try and shore up the population, which has been in rapid decline due to habitat loss and interbreeding with the American crocodile.

Cuban crocodiles can live well into their 80s and will breed throughout their life.