Perhaps the world’s most famous reptile, Elvis the crocodile stunned visitors with his almighty strength when keepers gave the 4.5 metre crocodile the leg of a cow for his milestone 55th birthday. The 500kg beast charged at keepers to claim the treat as his own then performed the world-famous “death roll” to amazed onlookers.
Elvis gained world-wide attention in 2011 when he stole his keeper’s lawnmower, earning him the title of “Australia’s Crankiest Crocodile”. Since then, many of Elvis’ videos online find themselves going viral and he has become loved all over the world. Although 55, Elvis still is one handsome crocodile with all of his limbs and teeth and is often called the ‘George Clooney’ of the Crocodile world.
A humongous living dinosaur such as Elvis deserves nothing short of the best, the best being a MASSIVE birthday treat in the form of a cow leg! Staff watched in amazement as Elvis played an intense game of tug of war with six of the reptile keepers, to break apart a bite-sized piece. The action did not stop there, feeling the rush of capturing his prey, Elvis then was quick to chase the keepers from the yard who carried the remainder of the meat with them. The keepers scrambled out as quickly as they could with Elvis chomping right behind them.
Commenting on the extremely dangerous activity Head of Reptiles at Australian Reptile Park Daniel Rumsey said, “It’s not easy playing tug-of-war with a huge living dinosaur like Elvis! I always feel the burn in my arms in the days to follow, and this time he felt stronger than ever.”
Mr Rumsey went on to say “I swear Elvis knows when it’s his birthday, his eyes light up when he sees the cow carcass like ours do when we see our birthday cake! Giving him this type of food provides excellent enrichment for him. He thinks that he just grabbed a large prey item, dragged it in the water and drowned it then ripped off a piece. This is a natural behaviour that we see in wild crocs and it’s awesome to see Elvis mimic this behaviour and showcase these incredible instincts!
“Crocodiles are superior hunters, and they possess larger than average sized teeth and a jaw capable of crushing the bones of large prey, which Rumsey says, “the bone crunching sound makes my bones shudder.”
Elvis came to The Australian Reptile Park in 2007 from the Northern Territory where he was causing havoc to fisherman’s boats in Darwin Harbour. He has a reputation for keeping staff on their toes, so the process of giving him such a large food item needs to be cautiously thought out.
Elvis the crocodile is 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.