The Ancient Egyptians mummified animals with the same care they took for people. In some cases when a person's favourite pet died, perhaps a dog or a cat, monkey of gazelle, it might be mummified and placed in the owner's tomb to keep them company in the afterlife.
Many other animals were mummified for religious reasons. Some animals were seen to be the representatives or messangers of the gods. At a holy place where a god was worshipped, animals sacred to that god were mummified and sold to worshippers who would present them as offerings to the god.
By the Greek and Roman periods many animals were regarded as sacred, ranging from the bull, ram, dog, ibis, falcon, fish, crocodile, and the cat to small rodents and even insects. The animal mummies were buried in large cemeteries at holy sites.
Crocodiles were once common in the River Nile. They were sacred to Sobek, a fertility god of the water.
This crocodile was donated to the Winchester City Museum collections by a local resident in 1925.