Australia’s saltwater crocodiles are notoriously fond of human flesh. But yesterday it was a lawnmower that took the fancy of Elvis, a 16-foot croc living in a reptile park north of Sydney.
While three staff were busy tending the lawn in Elvis’s enclosure, he lunged at them and grabbed the mower in his jaws. He then dragged it into his lagoon and sat there all morning, guarding it closely. Tim Faulkner, the park’s operations manager, eventually decided to perform a rescue.
As Billy Collett, the reptile keeper, lured Elvis to the other end of the lagoon with a plate of raw kangaroo meat, Mr Faulkner dove in. While under water, he also recovered two 3-inch teeth which the reptile lost in its encounter with the mower. “They clog up the filter system,” he explained later.
Elvis, who weighs 1,100 pounds, was captured in Darwin harbour, where he had been attacking fishing boats. He was taken to a crocodile farm, where he killed two crocodile girlfriends. He moved to the reptile park in 2008.
The mower was damaged beyond repair, with puncture marks and a torn throttle. The staff were relieved to escape unharmed. “He’s a real firecracker,” Mr Faulkner said.