For nearly a decade, an elusive “monster” crocodile has evaded wildlife authorities in Australia. Now, rangers in the Northern Territory have captured the massive saltwater croc.
Rumors of a large, shadowy figure swimming near a boat ramp on the Katherine River had long mystified local rangers and intrigued area locals.
"We've called it a lot of things over the years because it's been so hard to catch," senior wildlife officer John Burke told ABC News.
NT Parks and Wildlife rangers say it is rare to capture a crocodile this massive in the Katherine River. Despite its gargantuan size, rangers say capturing the croc wasn’t as challenging as one might think. A trap was set a few weeks ago near the river in hopes of capturing the so-called “big fella”. Just like that, he swam right into it.
"We've found that the big guys, because they're so used to being the boss of their hole, they tend to work with us better than the little ones," Burke said.
Measuring a whopping 4.7 meters long (over 15 feet) and weighing up to 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), officials estimate the male crocodile is around 60 years old. NT Parks and Wildlife said in a Facebook post that the crocodile has been “removed” to “prevent human interaction in more populated areas.” The photo shows the giant strapped down to the bed of a trailer with duct tape around its jaw and eyes to minimize stress.
The post continues a warning as well: “Large crocodiles can move around Top End waterways undetected and you should always Be Crocwise.”
Captured more than 300 kilometers (187 miles) from the ocean, the crocodile was found just 30 kilometers (17 miles) downstream from the popular tourist destination Katherine Gorge, where visitors swim, canoe, and take crocodile tours. The crocodile was driven to a crocodile farm outside of Katherine, where the Associated Press says he will likely become a tourist attraction.
Though “Big fella” sounds massive, he’s not the largest crocodile to be captured in Australia. In 1974 a 6-meter-long (20-foot) saltwater croc was captured in a net in the Mary River, according to the Australian government.
If you’re still not convinced that everything in Australia is trying to kill you then you’re certainly crazy.