Gi­ant croc shot dead

Shepparton News - Country News - - COBRAM HORSE TRIALS -

A mas­sive salt­wa­ter croc­o­dile — said to be one of the big­gest ever seen in Queens­land — has been shot dead in Rock­hamp­ton.

Po­lice and state en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cers are in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter the 5.2 m male rep­tile was found with a bul­let in its head in the Fitzroy River on Thurs­day.

The mon­ster croc­o­dile was taken to the nearby Koorana Croc­o­dile Farm, where it will be buried once a necropsy is car­ried out.

Farm owner John Leaver said a 5 m-long croc­o­dile had not been caught in Queens­land for 20 to 30 years.

‘‘There may have been some oth­ers shot in the wild that we don't know about, but from my rec­ol­lec­tion, over the past three decades this would be the largest,’’ he said.

Mr Leaver, who ran a croc­o­dile re­moval ser­vice across the state for 20 years, said the largest one he ever caught was 4.95 m in the late 1980s.

‘‘We caught that one up near Air­lie Beach,’’ he said.

Mr Leaver said it was not un­usual for a croc­o­dile of that size to be found so far south.

The farmer said Rock­hamp­ton lo­cals used to shoot croc­o­diles ‘‘equal to that size’’ in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, be­fore it was il­le­gal.

It is be­lieved the 5.2 m rep­tile had been dead for a few days be­fore a mem­ber of the pub­lic spot­ted it float­ing and no­ti­fied en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cers.

Mr Leaver said the gun­shot had caused a large hole in the top of the croc­o­dile’s skull, sug­gest­ing the bul­let came from a ‘‘fairly large cal­i­bre ri­fle’’.

‘‘I would say that some­one felt very threat­ened,’’ he said when asked why he thought some­one shot it.

Cas­sius, a male caught in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory three decades ago, is recog­nised as the world’s largest croc­o­dile in cap­tiv­ity.

The aquatic rep­tile mea­sures 5.48 m and lives at a farm on Green Is­land in far north Queens­land.

A 6.16 m Philip­pine croc­o­dile called Lo­long pre­vi­ously held the record be­fore it died in 2013.

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