LEFT: A 2.5 - 3m crocodile being swooped by an egret near the Fitrzroy River Barrage.
LEFT: A 2.5 - 3m crocodile being swooped by an egret near the Fitrzroy River Barrage. Rokccroc

Greg fears big crocodile in Fitzroy River may eat someone

JUST after Greg Clair took a bite of his pizza on Saturday morning, he looked up and started choking.

A healthy three-metre long crocodile, sunbaking on the fish ladder at the Fitzroy River Barrage, just below his house, caught his eye.

When the croc noticed people in the area it crept its way down the ladder into shallow water, partially submerging its body.

It played dead for about 20 minutes while a flock of white egrets on the river circled their unwanted friend, probably in a bid to shoo him off their territory.

As the tide went out, the croc again became exposed to the sun.

Then the game intensified.

The croc slipped right into the river.

Onlookers could see the croc's silhouette below the water gliding towards the barrage.

A flock of nosy white heron perched on the barrage were only inches away from the hungry croc.

The Bulletin's photographer Chris Ison had his finger on the button waiting for the predator to lunge its massive jaws at a curious heron ... but nothing happened.

Although Greg was excited about his visitor he said he was gravely concerned about teenagers who fished in the area.

On Friday he saw three juveniles below his place fishing on the ladder.

"It's only a matter of time before someone gets bitten by a crocodile," he said.

This is the second time he has seen a croc in real life.

After the Queensland floods hit the region last year, a one-metre-long crocodile had climbed up the embankment and settled about 10m from his back porch.

BITE SIZE

Saltwater crocodiles are extremely dangerous.

Larger species can reach over 4.85 metres (15.9 ft) long and weigh over 1200kg (2600 lb). Male crocodiles grow much larger and more rapidly than females.

Despite their large adult sizes, crocodiles start their lives at 20cm (7.9 in) long.

The largest recorded crocodile was 6.2m (20 ft). It was shot in the Mary River in the Northern Territory in 1974 by poachers, and measured by wildlife rangers.

Saltwater crocodiles usually live up to 70 years and some have made it to 100 years. And the oldest freshwater crocodile, a male, at the Australia Zoo, in Queensland, who died earlier this years was 130 years old.

He was rescued from the wild by the late Steve Irwin and his father, Bob, after being shot twice by hunters.



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