Monday, January 14, 2013

Crocodile versus shark

The video below, courtesy of BBC News, shows the head of a large crocodile that washed up in the St. Lucia estuary in South Africa a short while ago.  It's presumed that the rest of the body was eaten by a large shark, probably a Great White (which are abundant in the area).

I'm not surprised to see this, despite some alarmed comments in newspaper articles about the sighting.  It's happened many times before, most notably when Cyclone Demoina paid a visit to the area in February 1984.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of freshwater crocodiles were washed down the flooding rivers of Natal province and into the Indian Ocean (as were many dead cattle and other animals).  The then-Natal Sharks Board pulled up all of its shark nets along popular beaches, to prevent them being damaged by the storm.  When its boats went out to reset the nets, they found themselves surrounded by crocodiles trying to swim back to dry land and make their way up-river again.  There were many reports of crocodile-versus-shark combats.  The sharks usually won, because they're much more at home in water, whereas crocs really need land underfoot to develop maximum power for their attacks.  The carcases of dead animals also acted as a powerful attraction for sharks, who dined well for weeks after the cyclone passed through.  It wasn't advisable to swim there for a long time!

Seeing that brings back many memories of Lake St. Lucia and its associated estuary.  It's a beautiful place.


1 comment:

Erik said...

Any idea what would happen if it was a saltwater crocodile instead of a freshwater crocodile?
I remember reading a long time ago in one of those boys books an article with a few "who would win scenarios". It made the case that in a fight between a saltwater crocodile and a shark, the croc would win. It was stronger and more agile with faster reflexes, and it had better "armor" as well as better weaponry.

I still remember it because I thought it sounded a bit strange then, but it's kind of hard to disprove what I thought was a hypothetical scenario.