Baru the crocodile settles in at Toledo Zoo

17-foot Australian creature leaves crate, moves into exhibit’s pool

4/8/2013
BLADE STAFF
Baru-the-crocodile

Toledo Zoo staff remove the bindings and check on Baru, the zoo’s new 17-foot-long crocodile, after it arrived Friday evening from Australia.

THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH

Toledo Zoo staff remove the bindings and check on Baru, the zoo’s new 17-foot-long crocodile, after it arrived Friday evening from Australia.
Toledo Zoo staff remove the bindings and check on Baru, the zoo’s new 17-foot-long crocodile, after it arrived Friday evening from Australia.

The Toledo Zoo’s new crocodile appeared to be adapting to his surroundings Saturday, a day when he left the crate in which he was flown to Toledo from Australia in favor of the pool in the zoo exhibit, a zoo spokesman said.

“It’s another milestone — he is now in his exhibit,” Andi Norman said, adding that zoo staff are impressed with Baru’s physical condition.

The Reptile House is closed this weekend so noise can be kept to a minimum while the 1,540-pound saltwater croc, 17 feet long and believed to be between 40 and 50 years old, settles in.

Baru will go on exhibit May 24 when the new Australia-themed Wild Walkabout opens to the public.

Transporting Baru to Toledo from Australia, where he had been a nuisance to cattle, cost about $90,000, while renovating the solarium at the zoo’s Reptile House is costing about $900,000, paid for through the zoo’s regular budget as well as private donations, including a $150,000 donation from Block Communications Inc., which owns The Blade.