Huge Crocodile Shot Dead After Aggressively Stalking Man, Chasing Swimmers

A huge saltwater crocodile has been shot dead in Australia after displaying aggressive behavior.

Officials received reports that a 12ft-long crocodile had been following a surfer along North Wall Beach in Mackay, Queensland, on February 9.

The crocodile then began terrorizing other swimmers in the area. As the reptile approached, people had to "scramble up a rock wall" to get out of the way, Jane Burns, senior wildlife officer at the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, said in a press release.

But the crocodile did not stop there. On February 14, a fisherman spotted the crocodile stalking him near Reliance Creek. The man threw rocks at the animal in an attempt to get it to go away.

Wildlife officers began observing the animal and searching for it throughout the night. They determined the reptile was posing an "unacceptable danger" to the community. As a result, it was shot "on the spot."

Crocodile captured in Australia
A crocodile was euthanized after it aggressively stalked a man and chased swimmers. Queensland Government

Crocodiles are particularly common in Mackay, meaning local people must be on high alert, particularly when swimming during the warmer months.

Between 100,000 and 200,000 saltwater crocodiles are estimated to be living in Australia. The reptiles can grow to huge sizes and have very powerful jaws.

Saltwater crocodiles tend to be more aggressive than freshwater crocodiles. Although the crocodiles rarely attack unless provoked, they can become aggressive if they feel their territory is threatened.

It is not common for crocodiles to continuously stalk people, as this crocodile was doing. They may act like this when they become used to human food. This can cause them to become "food-conditioned." This generally makes them bolder and more aggressive when approaching humans.

In just under two months, there have been 23 crocodile sightings in Mackay. While officers were observing this most recent crocodile, they also spotted two others.

One was 8.8ft long, spotted lurking in Reliance Creek.

These reptiles were not displaying threatening behavior, so they were left in the wild. But their presence means local people must remain careful.

Crocodiles are only euthanized or removed from the wild if they are displaying dangerous behavior towards humans. In December, a crocodile was removed from the wild and sent to a farm.

Officers at the Department of Environment and Science have advised residents to expect crocodiles in all waterways, even if there is not a warning sign in place.

Crocodiles are more active during the warmer summer months, meaning this is when conflicts are more likely. Crocodile attacks in Australia are rare but not unheard of.

A man recently suffered severe injuries from a crocodile attack while egg collecting in the Northern Territory near the town of Daly River, south of Darwin. The man was rushed to the hospital by helicopter, where he received surgery for his injuries.

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