According to Luc Fougeirol, proprietor of the Croc Greenhouse, the conditions are more or less perfect: not much different from the crocodile's natural habitat, he maintains, and no predators man among them to worry about. The pride of his collection is some 8ft long and weighs in at around 220lbs.
M Fougeirol believes three are now aged at least 26 and can look forward to a long and comfortable sojourn in the twin ponds fed from the power station's reheating system. He has even put his crocs to work, turning a useful profit from visitors to the plant nursery wanting to see them enjoying life in their pampered refuge at a viewing fee of ten francs (Pounds 1) each (refundable if they buy something).
Provided the hot water is still on tap, he told France-Soir, he has high hopes eventually of bringing the reptilian population of the pools up to a hundred or more. "These are very tough creatures, you know, one of the few species to have managed to survive from prehistoric times."
As for rations, M Fougeirol observes defensively: "Everyone is terrified by the idea that they are insatiable eaters, but in fact they can usually manage on 5kg (about 11lb) of meat a week and have been known to go three weeks without eating at all."
Elsewhere in France another intimidating reptile, in the shape of a full-grown
royal python, has also been making news. It was discovered, all 6ft of it,
coiled around a refrigerator motor in a flat that a young couple are renovating
in Aix-en-Provence. It appears that the previous owners had left the snake
there. The fire brigade was called and the snake was knocked out with a chemical
spray, then donated to the nearest zoo.