Russian police searching a suspect's home for undeclared weapons in St. Petersburg unexpectedly found a large crocodile living in the basement, police said on January 19.
Officers were searching a property owned by a man suspected of possessing and trafficking in illegal arms in Petergof, a suburb of St. Petersburg known for its tsarist palace.
"In the basement of the house, the officers uncovered a crocodile," a statement from the prosecutor's office in the Petrodvorets district of St. Petersburg said.
"No incidents involving the reptile occurred during the search," police said, adding that a veterinary service is now looking for a new home for the crocodile.
Pictures released by police showed the reptile sitting in the dark, in a shallow muddy pool. Daytime temperatures in St. Petersburg hover around minus 7 degrees Celsius in the winter, far below the temperatures crocodiles experience in their natural habitats in tropical regions.
The crocodile "has lived here since 2005," a neighbor told local television.
The Fontanka local news site reported that the animal was a 2-meter-long Nile crocodile and said it belonged to a military reenactment enthusiast who ran a youth club in the building.
Police said they found items resembling ammunition that have been sent for analysis while the suspect is in custody.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and TASS