120-year-old crocodile found under school floorboards goes on display

Legend has it that a soldier who travelled the world after serving in World War One brought this crocodile home to Wales as souvenir for the local schoolchildren. But after that, the crocodile mysteriously disappeared.

For decades there have been rumours that its skeleton was hiding beneath the floorboards at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Bodringallt, but nobody really believed them. Then in 2019 some builders doing renovation work in one of the classrooms discovered its dusty, decaying remains.

Ever since then, throughout lockdown, experts have been painstakingly cleaning and reconstructing it. It’s now back in the classroom it spent so long languishing beneath, where the pupils can look at it and learn about it.

10-year-old Caitlin told me about the moment her mum explained to her that a crocodile had been found in the school. "I couldn’t believe it," she said, "I was so shocked - I thought it was a dream."

"I can’t imagine anyone else saying they found a crocodile under the floor in their school", said her classmate George.

It’s not clear why the crocodile was hidden away under the floorboards in the first place.

The school’s headteacher, Dr Neil Pike, said: "The story might be to do with the fact in World War Two they wanted to keep things safe, it might just have been a case that they had enough of it, and thought what better than putting a crocodile under a school floor and threaten the children to behave."

The children have lots of their own questions about the crocodile, but one thing is clear. More than 100 years after it’s believed to have been brought to this school, it is now inspiring the next generation of historians and scientists.