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Recently Captured One Ton Crocodile may be the Largest Reptile Ever Recorded

The Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, is the largest of the world’s reptiles. Until now, the record was held by a 21.1 foot-long male taken in 1974 along the Mary River in Australia’s Northern Territory. This month (September, 2011) an astonishing behemoth was captured alive in the southern Philippines…and it may be the biggest croc ever seen!

Awe-Inspiring Crocs

Stumpy Large Saltwater Crocodiles, or “Salties”, awe neophyte and veteran herpetologists equally when viewed up close. There is simply no way to prepare oneself for the grandeur of these other-worldly beasts. I had worked with hundreds of large crocs before meeting my first true monster – a 17-foot-long, 1,700 pound brute christened “Gomek” (please see article below). Accompanied by his keeper, I edged to within a few feet of the usually calm, nutria-eating giant, and I still lack the words to properly describe the experience.

Well, the individual just captured in the Philippines out-measures Gomek by quite a bit…please see the video below. He frequented the outskirts of a farming town in Bunawan Township, 515 miles southeast of Manila. Circumstances led residents to believe that the animal, whom they have named “Lolong”, may have been responsible for killing several people; domestic water buffaloes were also on his menu.

Catching a Legend

The giant destroyed 4 traps and eluded capture for 3 weeks; a stronger, re-built trap finally snared him. After several escapes from ropes that sought to restrain him (not an easy task, even with much smaller animals, I can assure you!) Lolong was pulled from the water…a feat that took the efforts of 90-100 people!

The new heavyweight contender is currently listed as being 21 feet long and weighing an amazing 2,370 pounds. The Mary River individual mentioned earlier measured at least 21 feet long (there is some uncertainty). I’m anxious to hear if 21 feet is a rough measurement…if so, we may have a new record.

Unfortunately, giant crocodiles and people do not mix, so this fellow cannot be released. An exhibit in a local ecotourism park is expected to be his new home.

Natural History

Saltwater Crocs occupy an enormous range that stretches from northern India southeast through China and Thailand to Australia. Ocean journeys of over 600 miles have been documented, and they sometimes wind up well beyond their normal haunts (i.e. Japan); some particularly seaworthy specimens even sport barnacles!

An Extinct Giant

Salties are not the largest crocs to have ever lived. Deinosuchus, a 29-foot-long crocodile that once roamed Florida, preyed upon dinosaurs! Please see this article.

Gomek’s Story

GomekGomek was captured on New Guinea’s Fly River and eventually found a home with Arthur Jones. Mr. Jones, best known for inventing Nautalis weight-lifting equipment, was quite the animal fancier. At one point he had scores of adult crocs and a herd of 20+ African Elephants on his land in Florida. Years in the zoo field and friendship with a protégé of his have favored me with a few peeks into his most unique life…but those are stories for another time. For now, please check out the Gomek article below.

 

Further Reading

Saltwater Crocodile Natural History

Photos and a video of the giant captured this month here

My Visit with Gomek World’s Largest Captive Croc

Check out this video of a giant croc feeding –
feeding a giant croc

 

Crocodile images referenced from Wikipedia.

4 comments

  1. avatar

    If anyone is wondering how dinosaurs looked and how they feed.. well people you have got your answer in that video.

    • avatar

      Hello Mike, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks…yes, as close as we can get to a look back in time. You might enjoy this article on an extinct croc that fed upon dinosaurs.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    thanks so much have thay ever figured out the total length of that 81cm false gharial skull do they have a formula to figure out skull to body length for gharials

    • avatar

      Hello Steve,

      Thanks for your interest; I haven’t checked in re the false gharial lately; a friend who was involved is now working with black caiman in Guyana; I’ll keep it in mind the next time we are in touch, best, Frank

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.

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