A YouTube video that has gone viral in recent days captures a scene so astonishing that some might wonder whether it’s real or a deepfake. But according to Australia’s 9News, with input from crocodile experts, the video of an angler fishing from a sandy shore near a large crocodile is authentic.
The footage shows the crocodile lying completely exposed on a sandbar of Queensland’s Russell River, about 30 miles south of the coastal city of Cairns in northeastern Australia.
Not far from the massive reptile stands the angler, who casts the river with his back to the croc, seemingly unconcerned about the dozing predator only scant yards away.
Independent TV confirmed the video was taken by British native Tez Blackmore.
“I’ve seen some stupid things in Australia and some stupid people, but this [takes the cake],” Blackmore says in the video. “Croc on the beach. [He’s] fishing right next to it. He’s fully twice as long as that [expletive] person.”
The croc is certainly large enough to motivate most anglers to find a different fishing spot. It appears to be the especially dangerous saltwater crocodile species, which is considered the largest reptile on earth. Male “salty” crocks can grow to over 20 feet in length and weigh up to 3,300 pounds.
When they choose to chase prey on land, they are shockingly fast.
It is not uncommon for a crocodile to attack a human fatally. One estimate puts the death toll at one or two victims a year in Australia, although none have been recorded since 2018.
Just last month in Litchfield National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory, a croc attacked a man while he was swimming at popular Wangi Falls. Luckily another visitor saved him.
Social media comments on the video have been all over the map. Most people believe the angler was foolish, others say the croc is docile, asleep, and nothing to worry about.
9News interviewed crocodile expert Jesse Crampton, who said the croc is affectionately known as “Clyde” to residents of the area. Crampton says the big reptile has grown used to humans and likely associates them with food, since people repeatedly feed him fish and roadkill. That can make him all the more dangerous; not only does he not fear people, but he’s come to expect meals from them.
However, Crampton says the angler was just casting his line, not bothering the sleeping reptile, so he didn’t fear for the fisherman.
“Even though it looks extremely close, the croc is on land basking,” said Crampton. “It’s wintertime here, and he was still a fair distance away keeping an eye on the animal.”
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