Australia’s crankiest crocodile, Elvis, backed his reputation today when the 4.75 metre saltwater crocodile charged at Keepers to claim his prize – a MASSIVE pig ribcage. Coming just two months after having three problematic teeth extracted in a highly dangerous dental surgery, Elvis’ jaw has healed perfectly and to keep his teeth in ‘tip top’ shape, he was given the huge crunchy treat.

Once Keepers entered the exhibit, it was game-on for Elvis. With one swift throw from Billy, the beast grabbed onto the ribcage, crunched down on it, smashing every bone into pieces, and within 30 seconds, he had swallowed it whole!

Operations Manager Billy Collett said, “Elvis has recovered so well since his dental surgery and we want to make sure we keep a smile on that crocodile, keeping his teeth as healthy as possible.

“Naturally, saltwater crocodiles replace a full set of teeth every two years. When biting down on prey that is full of bone, any loose teeth that are needing to come out, will easily fall out and give the healthy new teeth, the best chance to come through.”

Crocodiles are superior hunters, and they possess larger than average sized teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey. Mr Collett stated “Even though the crunching sound makes my bones shudder, it’s great to see that Elvis is using his teeth to devour large prey items. It’s a sign for us that his teeth are in great condition!

“Giving Elvis a food item of this size, is also the perfect enrichment for him. In the wild, crocodiles are used to working for their next meal, by seeking out their prey, catching it and using their powerful jaws and teeth to crunch the bone and meat. This way, Elvis is maintaining his natural instincts and behaviours just like he would in the wild,” Mr Collett concluded.

The 500kg beast gained world-wide attention when he almost ate his keeper’s lawnmower in 2011, earning him the title of Australia’s crankiest crocodile. Since then, Elvis’ antics haven’t stopped, and he keeps every keeper on their toes.

Elvis the crocodile acts as an ambassador for Saltwater crocodiles and one of the most popular animals at the Australian Reptile Park. By having such a large profile, he serves to provide people with a connection to saltwater crocodiles and educates his fans of the importance of saltwater crocodiles in the environment.

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.