Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jaws...Meet Jaws

ntnews - This monster crocodile has just proven who's the king of the swamp.

The 5m saltwater croc made mince meat of a bull shark at Kakadu National Park.

A bunch of tourists looked on in shock when they saw the croc chomping on the shark at the upper flood plains of the South Alligator River on Saturday morning.

The shark had already been bitten in two by the hungry beast when this photograph was taken.

But tour guide Dean Cameron, 34, believed it would have been at least 3m long and weighed 60kg.

"It would have been amazing to see (the attack) - very wild footage," he said. "The croc would've taken the shark at night and then it would've had to take it to the bank to eat it."

Two separate tour boats with about 45 tourists each on board were shipping along the river as part of the Yellow Water Cruise about 8.15am when they saw the wild feast.

Mr Cameron, who was guiding one of the boats, said the visitors were over the moon to see the spectacle.

"Nearly 100 people saw it all up and they were jumping for joy," he said.

"They said this had made their Kakadu trip."

But it was not the first time a crocodile has been witnessed feasting on a shark.

Maxine Rawson-Rodriguez was on a jumping crocodile cruise at Adelaide River - about 100km south of Darwin - when the tourist boat came across a crocodile eating a shark on March 24.

And the Northern Territory News reported on January 29 how five fishermen fought off a crocodile to defend a prized shark caught off a Territory beach.

Mr Cameron, who has been a tour guide for two years and a park ranger for several more, said he would come across such a spectacle once a year.

And he said he was not surprised about finding sharks that far into a freshwater river system.

"With the wildlife here you just don't know what you'll get to see," he said.

"That's the beauty of it."

Jaws...Meet Jaws

1 comment :

Elizabeth Jane said...

I have been to the South Alligator river where I and two other people camped for several days. We went out in a small aluminium boat which had a motor on the back, down the river at night, "spotlighting" crocodiles. This means holding a bright light over the river, along the mud flats, and towards the shore. The purpose is to capture the eyes of the crocodiles, one reason for doing this being that most of the crocodiles lie submerged in the water except for their eyes and the tips of their snouts, through which they breathe. When they are caught in the light of the spotlight their eyes glow bright red - and, as long as they remain submerged, that is all that you can see of them. But from the width of their eyes (and gauging how far you are from the two red glowing coals you can see in the darkness) you can tell how large each crocodile is. There are plenty of crocodiles there! It is a fertile habitat, and a wild place, which an environmentalist called Strider told me was the ceasefire line in the war against the Aborigines, a land that was never conquered by white people, now called Kakadu, a wilderness administered by the black people of that country, where along that ceasefire-line, which the South Alligator river represents, and in the surrounding rivers and wetlands and coastal regions, salt-water crocodiles reputedly grow to over eight metres in length.

But what is really frightening about them, something that I only discovered in that small aluminium dinghy on the South Alligator river that night, and which few people know, is that salt-water crocodiles, while they are so big and powerful and dangerous and appear monster-like enough when they are horizontal and in the water; that these reptilian beasts also rise up out of the water on their hind legs, standing bolt upright with their legs stretched out just like a tall human being, and run across the mud flats - they sprint on two legs over open ground!

I saw this happen, close to me and with a spotlight upon the crocodile, at night, and if one of we four people had been on that same mud flat, that hapless human being would have had absolutely no chance of out-running the crocodile, so quickly did it run: But, to my disbelief at what he was doing, one of the two men we had met there, who owned this boat, and the one taking us down the river in his boat did, to my amazement, and despite my fear and my concern for his very life, do just that - he went on an EVA wa-aaay out onto a mud flat. "Bravery" I suppose you would call it?? ... since he got away with it... or "playing chicken with the crocodiles", is another way to describe the concept he was exploring at that time? I cannot deny that it was, in a sense, impressive! (Just an average Aussie man, like Steve Irwin, I suppose? Or those two men reported on this post just yesterday "Dumb and Dumbass:Aussie Men Shoot Each Other in the Ass to Find Out if it Hurts" i.e...."normal" Australian male behaviour ... something very strange and inexplicable about Australian men, and this is a very mild example.)

We were all very vulnerable. It was very dangerous. Our boat could have been overturned by one of these beasts if they had taken a mind to do so and then I wouldn't be telling you this. It was awe-inspiring and exciting. This happened to me in 1983. I will not forget what happened that night.

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