Rocky the croc finds lover
IT has been a rocky road to love for Rocky the croc.
After a tough start in life, 800kg Rocky is now off the meat-market and happily settled with an older woman.
John Lever, owner of Koorana Crocodile Farm, bought the young croc from a Thursday Island fisherman back in the early 1980s.
The fisherman had caught baby Rocky and kept him as a pet in his bathtub for over a year before finally, forced by his wife after a few too many “run-ins” and the fact that Rocky had outgrown the tub, sold him to John.
“When we received Rocky he had no bone density and was the world’s biggest wuss!” John said.
“It turns out the owner didn’t want Rocky to choke so he filleted and deboned every fish before feeding him; he had grown up on a completely calcium-free diet!”
After two years at the Koorana farm, and a diet consisting solely of chickens’ feet, Rocky was back in fighting-fit condition and John decided he was ready for a girlfriend.
“We thought we would be nice to Rocky and give him a lovely, young girlfriend.”
Unfortunately, upon meeting the inexperienced female, the nervous bachelor had no idea what to do, so he bit her.
John realised that Rocky’s lack of socialisation meant that he needed an older, more experienced girlfriend to show him the ropes.
Enter Mrs Robinson.
“She gave a submissive posture; chin up high in the air, exposing her neck – very classic behavioural stuff,” John explained.
“At first, Rocky rumbled his windpipe sending vibrations through the water; a sign of aggression.
“It can sometimes take a while for crocodiles to establish whether another croc is male or female; he may have seen her as a smaller male.”
However, Mrs Robinson knew what to do and retreated immediately.
John said that she first waited for the cautious croc to approach her, before slowly slipping back into the water.
The rest is history.
Fast-forward 12 years and 30-year-old Rocky and significantly older Mrs Robinson have the highest success rate of all the breeders on the 3000-strong Koorana Croc Farm.
“Genetically they are the best couple we have in the place,” John said.
“They are still relatively young, they have a good hatchling rate, good survival rate of hatchlings and good growthrate.”
“They have all the genetic ingredients for the best farming stock.”
Mrs Robinson, a meagre 130kg, was caught in the wild near Ingham so John is unsure of her exact age but estimates it at 60.
“What can I say?” John joked.
“She made a very good tutor!”