When the words "penal colony" are mentioned, furry animals are not the first thing that spring to mind, but a prison in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg is changing all that with the construction of its own mini-zoo.
In addition to prisoners, the quirky colony houses a number of animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and even sea turtles, tabloid LifeNews reported Thursday.
The pride and joy of the colony, however, is a crocodile named Lacoste-ik, which is looked after by a prisoner known simply as Lev.
"Lev feeds the reptile twice a week with fish and meat," a spokesman for the Sverdlovsk region prison service was quoted as saying by LifeNews.
The spokesman added that such interactions were important for the prisoners, offering a high level of psychological relief during their incarceration.