A photo shows the moment that a monster 16-foot (5m) saltwater crocodile, known to tour guides at Australia’s Kakadu National Park as “Maxi,” devoured a 6-foot (2m) rival while tourists looked on in shock and awe.
The shocking photo of crocodile cannibalism, taken during a Yellow Water Cruise at the Kakadu National Park in Australia, demonstrated the croc-eat-croc principle of life in the wild.
The image was captured by Nikki Davies, a tour guide with the Yellow Water Cruises. It shows Maxi, the dominant individual in that area of the Yellow Water, showing who is boss by making short work of a smaller individual who trespassed in his territory.
The photo was later posted to the Kakadu Tourism’s Facebook page with the caption, “Beauty… and the beast. You never know what you are going to see in Yellow Water, Kakadu.”
According to The Australian, Ms. Davies said she had never seen anything like that before and described the image as a potent reminder of the “supreme power of nature.”
“At first we thought they were fighting, but as we went around the corner a bit more you could see what had happened.
“Maxi had in his jaws the top jaw of the other croc. He’d just sunk his teeth into the brain and eyes which was horrible because we could still see it alive.
“I think it was about showing off who’s the boss in the area… This was definitely more to do with Maxi showing his dominance, and marking his territory. Food sources aren’t scarce in Yellow Water, and a croc would be harder to ambush than a docile bird.”
Another tour guide, Chad Grosenberg, agreed with Davies, saying he had also never seen anything like that at the Yellow Water.
“You normally see the crocs on the banks sunning themselves. You think they’re big and lazy. To see something like this gives you a new-found respect. You are reminded a bit of what they can actually do.”
As if to demonstrate the accuracy of Davies’ observation that Maxi’s behavior was primarily in defense of his territory, the crocodile was reportedly seen later in the evening still “parading his prize.”
Crocodiles are known to be cannibalistic. Bigger ones would usually devour smaller ones. Thus, smaller individuals stay away from bigger ones. This explains why groups of crocodiles in nature tend to be about the same size.
Male saltwater crocodiles sit atop the food chain in their habitat. They feed on practically any small or weaker animal they can get, including fish, birds, and animals that wander too close to the river bank.
Males grow up to 6.3 meters (20 feet) in length while females grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) long.
Saltwater crocodiles are a protected species in Australia.
[Images: Nikki Davies/Yellow Water Cruises via Facebook]