Underwatertimes.com News Service - December 12, 2005 00:00 EST

At 35, he is not too old for a mate. But he seems to be too big. Believed to be the largest crocodile in captivity in India, it has killed two female crocodiles—that were too small compared to this 16-foot saltwater crocodile weighing 600-odd kilograms—allowed into his enclosure. Attempts are being made by the administrators of the Madras Crocodile Bank (MCB), where the giant crocodile—named Jaws III—is housed, to find a mate to suit his size.

But the MCB administrators’ hope of seeing Jaws junior has been dashed to the ground thrice earlier. Two attempts to mate Jaws with a female met with a gory end. According to sources in the MCB, he killed both.

‘‘Some years ago, we released a female crocodile into Jaws’ enclosure and that was it. He just grabbed her by the waist and tossed her up, before crushing her with his powerful teeth,’’ a croc-feeder from the MCB told The Indian Express. Jaws repeated it when another female was allowed into the enclosure. ‘‘The females were not big enough for him and he was not ready to accept them,’’ said an employee of MCB.

‘‘Our third attempt to give him a female companion also failed. We had kept a female crocodile in his enclosure after separating the pool using a wire mesh. But he never bothered to turn at her and we had to remove her,’’ Kundhavi, education officer of MCB, told Express.

She said mating Jaws would be impossible unless they got a female crocodile that can match him in size. ‘‘Jaws III is a saltwater crocodile and this species can grow up to 25 feet. There are crocodiles upto 20 to 22 feet in the wild but not in captivity. We are waiting to get a female of his size and hope he will accept it as his mate,’’ she added. Saltwater crocodiles could live up to 100 years in ideal conditions, she said. Jaws was brought to Chennai from Malaysia through the Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai. They had donated the crocodile to MCB when he was 5 years old. Now, Jaws is 35 years old.