Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
Just imagine the red offboard up here. I'll create it Real Soon Now...
Yes, I know a proper 18XX tile should have a tile number.
We always play that the first two crocs are normal (except that one must go in front, one in back). From then on, a croc is a "1". Otherwise the animal stack gets too wide at the base and the game is too easy! And that also means that only the first few crocs are "free."
I've been playing this way as well.
Also, the hand can be used as a game-balancing mechanic -- kids hand off one of their animals, adults hand off a piece from the box.