They don't know it yet, but the two dozen crocodiles at Cypress Gardens have little reason to smile these days.

What is widely considered to be the most diverse, public collection of crocodilians in the world will be dismantled in the coming weeks as most of the animals will be shipped separately to exhibits across the Southeast.

Their fate was sealed last week when Berkeley County Council approved nearly $400,000 in cuts to the park's sizeable, annual budget with no discussion about the crocodiles.

Now the Cypress Gardens staff is working to ensure the animals will get the same treatment somewhere else. Dr. Sam Seashole, attending veterinarian at the county-owned park, said he's found homes for many of the animals but it's a struggle because most facilities lack the space and resources necessary to provide the specialized care the animals require.

"If we had a lot of little fuzzy things you'd have a whole bunch of people wanting to give them a place to go, but crocs are a different story," he said.

Read more details in tomorrow's editions of The Post and Courier.