In terms of fauna, Kazakhstan is commonly associated with horses galloping across the grassy steppe and camels galumphing through the desert. So, understandably, this week some Temirtau residents were surprised when they chanced upon a sack containing a crocodile and a python in their yard.
The reptiles were part of a group that had gone missing from an exhibition of exotic wildlife in Temirtau, home to an ArcelorMittal steel plant, on August 29. The crocodile and python were returned to the town's botanical gardens on September 3. Despite a lack of food and water, they were said to be unharmed by the ordeal.
The fate of the other missing animals, a second python, four turtles and a rabbit, remains unknown. An investigation into the possible theft of the animals continues. It’s unknown if investigators have considered checking the stomachs of the crocodile and python that have just been returned to captivity.
It's not the first time that exotic wildlife has hit the headlines this summer in Kazakhstan. In July a tiger from Russia named Kesha caused a buzz when, instead of performing a trick, he lifted his leg and urinated on a group of VIPs.