Bloodbath as boy feeds zoo reptiles to crocodile

Rare Australian animals perish after seven-year-old goes on killing spree

Staff at a popular zoo in central Australia were in shock after a seven-year-old boy broke in overnight, bludgeoned a range of animals to death, and fed them to the resident crocodile, Terry.

The boy also hurled a number of live creatures into the crocodile's enclosure, where they too, were consumed. The 30-minute killing spree was captured by security cameras, which showed the boy smiling during his rampage.

More than a dozen residents of the Alice Springs Reptile Centre were fed to Terry, including a 20-year-old, 6ft (1.8m) female Spencer's goanna, which was much loved by zoo staff.

Other victims, many of them rare or mature, and difficult to replace, included a turtle, four western blue-tongued lizards, two bearded dragons and two thorny devil lizards.

Police identified the boy, who lives locally, from the security footage, but said they were unable to lay charges because of his age. The reptile centre's director, Rex Neindorf, described his actions as "unbelievable", and said he was considering suing his parents.

The footage shows the barefoot boy, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, climbing over the zoo's fence on Wednesday morning, evading sensor alarms possibly because of his size. He is seen throwing live lizards into the crocodile's enclosure, bashing others to death with a rock, and smashing a turtle the size of a dinner plate on a concrete pathway.

He then jumps into the goanna pit and is next seen dragging a dead goanna towards the crocodile pen, which is protected by two fences. The goanna's mate survived. The 13 animals killed were worth about $7,000 (£3,000).

The security film includes graphic scenes of Terry, an 11ft, 440lb (200kg) saltwater crocodile, and one of the zoo's main attractions, eating the reptiles. According to Mr Neindorf, the boy is mainly "blank-faced". He added: "We're horrified that anyone can do this, and saddened by the age of the child."

Mr Neindorf said the boy could easily have been taken by the crocodile himself, as he fed him from a small landing near his enclosure.

He told ABC Radio: "We had to trawl through the video footage for the police, and we had to watch our animals being thrown in, and some the kid had killed and then threw in, and others were thrown in live."

Staff made the gruesome discovery after one of them heard a noise in the crocodile pond. "The crocodile was actually eating one of the animals," Mr Neindorf said.

Police cautioned the boy. Senior Sergeant Graeme Farquharson said: "The whole incident's fairly shameful, vicious, nasty and cruel." He said the boy was "under the radar" in terms of criminal responsibility, as children under 10 in the Northern Territory cannot be held liable for their actions.

"Responsibility has got to lie with the family," Mr Farquharson said. "I have no idea why a seven-year-old should be running around without any parental supervision."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect