Nut wants to bring crocodiles to upstate NY

By Curtis Riboflavin

Published March 2nd, 2015

ALBANY — An animal activist from Rotterdam wants the state Department of Environmental Conservation to import hundreds of Florida-bred crocodiles into Capital Region waterways to bring diversity to the upstate ecosystem and repopulate an endangered species.

“Why New York?” Sam Grapes asked rhetorically."Why not. The lower Adirondacks would be a great spot for crocodiles. So would Saratoga Lake. It's a great idea.”

Grapes and three other protestors marched outside the state Capitol Friday demanding Gov. Andrew Cuomo authorize the DEC to start moving the man-eating reptiles as soon as April.

Grapes — who last year was charged with disorderly conduct for biting state Division of Budget Analyst Carl Yolk as part of an elaborate scheme to distract State Police while accomplices sneaked a box turtle, six salamanders and two burrowing owls into the Capitol — has some high-profile help in his effort to bring crocodiles to New York. Gus Mouse, widely considered one of North America’s most knowledgeable experts on reptiles and tree frogs — has endorsed the plan.

Mouse said global warming is a game changer that makes upstate New York a real "destination for crocs." If New York is ever to have a huge crocodile population, Mouse told the Smudge, the time to strike is now.

"New York and crocodiles. They go together like shrimp and the barbie," said Mouse, an Australian who now lives in Brooklyn’s ultra-hip Williamsburg section.

"New York's waterways,” Grapes said, “are woefully under-populated with crocodiles. We need to change that. The scales of Lady Justice do not swing for man alone."

Smart McRusso, a spokeswoman for the DEC, called the plan dead on arrival.

"There are literally thousands of reasons not bring crocodiles to New York state — including the fact that they eat people, it's too cold for them to live here and they were never in New York to begin with," McRusso said.  "This insane plan will not be considered. It won't be 'scaled down' and it won't be happening — period. If Sam Grapes likes crocodiles so much, he can move to Florida, or put one in his bathtub."