WHEN A HUGE ESTUARINE CROCODILE WAS SIGHTED JUST OFF THE STRAND, TOWNSVILLE’S POPULAR WATERFRONT AREA, OFFICIALS FROM EHP (DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE PROTECTION) WENT INTO ACTION IMMEDIATELY TO LOCATE AND CAPTURE THE DANGEROUS REPTILE.
Once he was roped and crated they realized he had only one good eye, and appeared to be quite old. Any crocodile over 4 metres long is considered an ‘iconic’ crocodile by traditional land owners, so local elders were consulted and agreed that the croc should have a new home at Billabong Sanctuary.
DEHP officials named the croc ‘Jupiter’ after the former Jupiter’s Casino, close to his capture location. He arrived here in March with a bit of attitude, and his enclosure was screened off to give him time to settle in.
Within a short time Jupiter could be spotted up on the bank basking in the sun, and before long was snatching food offered to him on a pole! What a contrast to our largest croc Bully, relocated from the Mona Creek boat ramp—Bully settled to the bottom of his pond and wasn’t seen for 6 months after his arrival!
Jupiter has now become a star attraction at the daily croc feeding shows. He’s not quite as big as Bully—about 4.3 metres long, and maybe 500 kg in weight. Rangers estimate his age at around 60 years. Apart from his left eye, he’s also missing most of his teeth, is a bit underweight and has a few battle scars! We reckon he was driven out of his territory by a younger, more aggressive male.
But here at Billabong Sanctuary, Jupiter can live out his days well-fed and free from harassment. We even have plans to introduce a female into his pond to keep him company!