Crocodile act called out as 'suspicious' viral video prompts warning to Aussies

Speculation surrounds the seemingly innocent video showing a croc chomping down on a small shark.

A video showing a large saltwater crocodile eating a baby shark is being investigated over fears the reptile was deliberately fed — a move authorities said would be "extremely foolish and dangerous behaviour".

The viral video was filmed by a local man standing on the bank of the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton, Queensland — a known croc habitat — and shows the animal glide towards him in the water when suddenly it snaps up a small, deceased shark.

The man who filmed the interaction said he was exercising nearby when he noticed the croc, but at first, did not see the baby shark floating nearby. The video has been shared across social media with many growing suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the interaction. Some claimed it's likely the man, or someone else, had planted the shark for a filming opportunity. Authorities also believe "the timing of the video is suspicious".

Three still frames from a video showing a crocodile eating a dead baby shark in the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, Queensland.
The large crocodile was seen feeding on a dead shark in the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, Queensland with fears it was deliberately put there. Source: Facebook

"Suss that there just happened to be a fish/shark there," one person said on Facebook. However, the man who filmed the interaction said he wasn't responsible for placing the shark, the ABC reported.

"Initially I didn't know what was going on," he said. "I thought it was maybe beaching itself… but then it comes up and it really lets you see what it's got."

Timing of video is suspicious, say authorities

A statement shared with Yahoo News Australia confirmed Queenland's Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DES) is now looking into the social media claims and admitted "the timing of the video appears to be suspicious".

"We’re investigating if this is a coincidence or not, and we would be extremely disappointed if people were deliberately feeding crocodiles to generate likes on social media," Wildlife officer Alexander Peters said in the statement.

"Anyone with information about these videos, or the deliberate feeding or interacting with crocodiles in the region is urged to contact the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

"Deliberately feeding of crocodiles is extremely foolish and dangerous behaviour, as it can lead to the animals learning to associate people with food".

Peters revealed previous incidents have shown that when a crocodile has been fed, "it starts to approach other people for food, or it will hang around an area where they have previously been fed waiting for an easy meal".

"This can put unsuspecting people at risk and leave the animal vulnerable to being removed from the wild".

Fishing in croc-infested rivers is problematic

Rodney Fischer, a fisherman who frequents the Ord River near Wyndham in the Kimberley — a crocodile hotspot — said the video "isn't good" to watch. And while the circumstances surrounding the interaction in Queensland have not been confirmed, he agreed feeding the crocs can be problematic — even if it's unintentional.

Large crocodile resting on rock near the Fitzroy River in Queensland.
The Fitzroy River in Queensland is a known habitat for crocodiles. Source: Getty

Often, Fischer says anglers will throw dead fish or tiny sharks back into the water after reeling them in, sometimes with a hook or fishing line still attached. This attracts the crocs who feed on them.

"I find the odd dead croc and they usually have a fishing line hanging out of their jaws," he told Yahoo.

Peters from the DES said something similar happened in the Fitzroy River in 2020. A 3.7 metre crocodile was removed after multiple reports fish frames had been deliberately left at the boat ramp providing a food source for the crocodile.

"Officers identified the available food source, and our observations indicated that its behaviour had changed, therefore creating a safety risk which forced officers to remove the animal," he said.

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