Giant crocodile and bull shark clash in northern Australian river

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 August, 2014, 10:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 4:04am


Tourists in northern Australia have witnessed a clash of two of nature's fiercest predators, with a massive saltwater crocodile wrestling with a bull shark in its jaws.

Andrew Paice was on an hour-long wildlife cruise on the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory with his partner and seven-year-old daughter on Tuesday when they spotted something unusual on the river bank.

Earlier they had watched as crocodiles, including the huge 5.5-metre male known as Brutus, leapt out of the water to eat pieces of buffalo meat held out on a pole.

"It was on the way back to the jetty, we went past Brutus again, he was up on the bank," Paice said from Kakadu National Park.

"As we were going past, we noticed that there was a fin. We thought it was a barramundi [fish] or something. The guide took the boat in for a closer look and lo' and behold, it was a shark."

Brutus, who is thought to be about 80 years old and is missing a front leg and most of his teeth, is well known in the area. Speculation is that the prospect of a fish dinner was tasty revenge for the crocodile, who was thought to have lost his limb to one of the sharks who inhabit nearby waters.

The Northern Territory News said Brutus won the struggle with the much smaller shark, but Paice said he wasn't so sure.

"When we went past the first time the croc was lying there with the shark in its mouth," he said.

"When we pulled the boat in closer it slid back into the water. And when the shark, or the mouth of the croc, hit the water, the shark started to thrash around."

"So it was certainly still alive. We couldn't see any blood anywhere," he said, noting that Brutus had few teeth left. "It may have got away. It may have got eaten, we don't know."