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A mummified crocodile

This mummified crocodile is on display in the Egypt Centre. It is about 4 foot long.


The Egyptians killed and mummified many thousands of animals to offer to their gods. Crocodiles were offered to the crocodile god, Sobek. The mummy above (W985) was originally thought not to contain the actual remains of an animal. Very often mummies in the shape of animals do not contain actual animals. This could be because the demand for animal mummies to offer to the gods outstripped supply, or because it was not thought so important to offer an actual animal as the idea of an animal. However, when X-rayed by St James vets in Swansea on 8th Dec. 2008 for the company Wild Dreams (for a tv documentary), it was found to contain the mummified remains of a baby crocodile about 18 inches long.

Crocodiles no longer live in the parts of Egypt below Lake Nasser. However, in ancient Egypt they were a real danger to people and animals. The Nile crocodile can grow up to six meters long. However, the crocodile god Sobek was not seen a purely negative light.

Sobek had cult centres at both Kom Ombo and Medinet el-Faiyum. He was particularly worshiped in the 12th and 13th Dynasties but later became assimilated into the cult of Amun as ‘Sobek-Re’. By the Ptolemaic Period he was closely associated with the sun-god and identified with the Greek god Helios. As such he was considered a creator god. His association with life probably stems from the fact that crocodiles live in the Nile, the source of all water, and hence life, for Egypt.

More animals in the Egypt Centre