Australian Reptile Park celebrated Australia’s crankiest crocodile Elvis’ 51st birthday today entertaining crowds with his famous death roll.
The 500 kilo, 4.5 metre croc is famous for attacking a keeper’s lawnmower in 2011, and age hasn’t slowed him down. Keepers provided Elvis with his annual gift comprising of a quarter of an animal carcass which he chomped and dragged into the water – death rolled and then guarded.
The superior hunter and predator possess larger than average size teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey.
Commenting on the extremely dangerous feeding procedure, Tim Faulkner, General Manager at Australian Reptile Park said, “Elvis is one cranky crocodile, a wound inflicted by this guy would be extremely severe.
“Elvis came to us from the Northern Territory where he was causing havoc to fisherman’s boats. Our plan is to lure him out of the water with the carcass, which will be tied to a tree to demonstrate his pulling ability during the death roll.
“Once Elvis grabbed the carcass there was no letting go. The general process we follow is waiting until he tries to drown the prey and leave it to rot, which is a traditional procedure in the wild and grab what we can back from him. We do this because eating the carcass all at once 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.