ROCKHAMPTON’S own crocodile researcher Phil Turner
ROCKHAMPTON'S own crocodile researcher Phil Turner has been digging up the dirt on some bloody big crocodiles in the region with some monsters measuring 6.4m.
A professional fishermen, Mr Turner has a passion for crocodiles, and has for many years been collecting written material and photographs, some of which dates to the late 1800s.
Mr Turner said there was a large number of crocodiles in and around the local river systems, and there were more there that a lot of people had not seen.
"I get really worried at times when I see people in the water swimming or even fishing close to the shore," Mr Turner said. "These animals are big, they are powerful and they are fast and they are designed to do one thing only ... and that is to eat you.
"I'm not out to scare anyone but there are some big crocs in the Fitzroy River and people do need to be extremely careful when using our waterways.
"The bigger crocs often explode from just beneath the water and onto the river bank and will snatch cattle, pigs and any other animals and then drag them back down into the water.
"We are an easy target for them so I warn people to be wary when on the water, or near the edge of it."
One crocodile, where only the skull remains, was so big that Mr Turner went and photographed it last weekend with himself kneeling down beside its jaws to show how big it was.
"The measurement of its skull from snout to the back of the cranial platform would suggest it had to be 21 feet long using the 1/9 method (a scientific measuring system)," Mr Turner said.
"And it had big teeth, the largest measuring 90mm in length.
"If you look at the very front of the lower jaw you can clearly see one of these big thick teeth."
Mr Turner said there were a lot of big crocodiles way upstream of the Fitzroy River up in the very remote country but he fears with their increasing numbers and size some might be moving down closer to our region.
"They are an ambush predator and extremely territorial which only adds to their danger," Mr Turner said.
"And I'm not advocating for a minute that we wipe them out - of course not - they are a vital part of our ecological system.
"But with an explosion in their number, and size, I fear it is only a matter of time before someone is taken.
"I think culling in years to come would seriously need to be looked at, as the population explosion in the Fitzroy catchment will be inevitable."