A five-foot dwarf caiman known as Crocodile Joe that was stolen from a pet shop has been returned after just one day in the wild.
Crocodile Joe was one of 100 reptiles that were stolen from a shop in Stockport.
Police has said that he was found on the doorstep is the Stockport Pet Warehouse. He was dumped outside in a cardboard box.
Caiman eat fish and shellfish and are one of the smallest members of the crocodile species. They have a powerful bite that can be dangerous if they are handled by people who are untrained.
The reptile can be sold for up to £1,000 on the black market was returned to the pet shop along with 25 snakes and lizards which were also stolen. Around 50 other animals that were taken, including two privately-owned exotic birds, are still missing.
Jon Bibby and Paul Williamson, who are the shop owners, said that they were very pleased that some of the animals had been returned, but they are worried for the ones that haven’t come back.
Paul, 45, said: “I can’t believe we have got the caiman back. We are pleased to see some of the other reptiles returned too, but we are gutted we have not got all the customers’ animals back. We now have the parakeet but not the cockatoo. We have told the customers and they are devastated.”
“I think the thieves must have panicked after all the publicity. I think they knew they wouldn’t be able to sell a five-foot dwarf caiman, and if they already had a buyer, they might have backed out and they could not house the caiman. They were asking to get caught bringing them back here.”