Known as Australia’s crankiest crocodile and famous for attacking a keeper’s lawnmower in 2011, Elvis the resident saltwater crocodile at The Australian Reptile Park is turning 50.
To celebrate, the 500 kilo crocodilian was given his annual gift comprising of half an animal carcass, likely to be a cow, in which dragged into the water and death roll.
The superior hunter and predator possesses larger than average size teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey, which General Manager, Tim Faulkner, said “the bone crunching sound makes my bones shudder”.
Commenting on the extremely dangerous feeding procedure, Billy Collett, Head of Reptiles at Australian Reptile Park said, “Elvis is one cranky crocodile, a wound inflicted by this guy would be extremely severe and this typical opportunistic predator is infamous for attacks on humans.
“Elvis came to us from the Northern Territory where he was causing havoc to fisherman’s boats. He has even gone for me a few times when feeding, so the process of giving him such a large carcass needs to be cautiously thought out.
“Today I had General Manager Tim Faulkner, Operations Manager Mike Drinkwater and Ranger Mick in the enclosure as back up support. We lured him out of the water with the carcass, and held onto a rope attached to the cow to demonstrate his pulling ability during the death roll.
“Once Elvis grabbed the carcass there was no letting go until he got a mouthful of food. If he ate the whole carcass at once it would have him in a hibernation state from food for at least eight weeks, which is not good for his feeding routine.”
Elvis the crocodile is a fine ambassador for his species. Saltwater crocodiles were once hunted to the brink of extinction in Australia, but following their status to be legally protected in QLD, NT and WA, their numbers have made a full recovery and they are now listed as least concern by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Australian Reptile Park & Devil Ark