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.