'Absolutely fascinating': Inside a croc's stomach
THE fascinating story about an orthopaedic plate found inside a large crocodile near Rockhampton deepened yesterday when Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever revealed he'd taken two separate missing persons calls following the extensive media coverage.
"A couple of people from north Queensland, who remember people going missing some time ago whose bodies were never found, called me after seeing the coverage," Mr Lever said.
"They told me that one person went missing adjacent to the Tully River and the other in the Innisfail and Ingham area.
"I'd love to think that we could give families some closure one day."
This week it was revealed that a metal bone plate and six screws had been found in the stomach of Koorana's resident 4.7m saltwater crocodile, MJ, during an autopsy conducted last month.
MJ was caught in the wild and lived on another farm at Innisfail first before being acquired by Koorana.
Mr Lever said he'd yesterday tracked down the Swiss manufacturer of the orthopaedic plate.
"There's a guy who works in that company who says if we send him some more pictures, he will be able to put a date on when it was manufactured.
"So that's going to be interesting."
Koorana Crocodile Farm yesterday posted a photograph on its Facebook page showing some of the things they'd recovered from crocodiles' stomachs during autopsies.
The items included a door handle, the leg bone of a dog and dog hair, and crab pot material including a foam buoy.
Mr Lever said he'd even found broken bottles inside a former resident 4.3m croc named Ugly.
"That was absolutely fascinating," he said.
"Ugly wouldn't have got it from here.
"I caught him up at Cattle Creek at Ingham and brought him back here where he lived for a decade.
"He had a stoush with another crocodile and he died. When we opened him up we found broken bottles and yet his stomach hadn't been damaged at all."
Mr Lever explained why crocodiles swallowed things like bottles.
"They're water edge feeders so you can imagine in a tidal zone there are all sorts of things floating up, and crocs can just pick up a bottle and swallow it whole."
Mr Lever said it was a 3.8m croc named Ted who'd swallowed the dog leg bone and hair, but he couldn't recall which animal had ingested the door handle.
"When we first started off here we were interested in all that sort of stuff (what crocs swallowed) but as we got busier it just became another chore to trace back all of the data, so we just keep all the bits and pieces out of interest."
Mr Lever said Koorana would soon incorporate a display of the things they've found inside crocs.