Tourists Get Very Close to Huge Estuarine Crocodile
Many visitors to the Northern Territories of Australia like to get up close to the amazing wildlife of the region. Sure, Australia has cute and cuddly kangaroos and koala bears but for one group of boat trippers out to spot crocodiles they got a little too close a view of one river giant – an eighteen foot long Saltwater crocodile called Brutus.
The incredible animals of Australia, both extinct ones and those creatures that are very much alive and kicking, have been in the news a lot over the last few days. Last week, Everything Dinosaur reported on the discovery of a very well preserved giant wombat fossilised skeleton that had been found in Queensland.
To read more about this: Outback Dig for Giant Wombat Fossil.
However, the tourists on a river cruise got their own encounter with a giant creature from Australia, one of the most dangerous animals on the planet – a giant Saltwater (Estuarine) crocodile. The crocodiles are attracted to the pleasure crafts by tour guides who dangle kangaroo meat on poles. The crocs soon learn to associate the river cruisers with food and they tend to congregate in the hope of getting an easy meal.
The crocodile, nick-named Brutus is certainly a very impressive beast, perhaps weighing as much as 1200 kilogrammes and measuring almost six metres in length. This male croc is believed to be one of the largest in the Darwin river system. It is missing its right front limb, perhaps as a result of a fight with a shark or another crocodile. The loss of the limb does not seem to have affected this crocodile’s ability to leap out of the water to grab the food on offer. The power to propel them several metres out of the water is generated by their immensely strong tail muscles.
This is certainly one holiday “snap” that will be remembered. Although such tourist activities brings in much needed income and plays a role in educating visitors to the area about the dangers of crocodiles the number of large crocodiles in the Northern Territories is a cause for concern amongst government officials. There have been several crocodile attacks in the last few months, including fatalities, the number of such incidents is on the increase as the crocodile population continues to bounce back after years of illegal hunting.
To read about a recent crocodile attack: Crocodile Sinks Teeth into Dentist.
This close encounter with Brutus may lead to more calls to restrict the number of river tours and there has already been discussions regarding a cull of crocodiles in the Darwin river system.