Eric, the late, great "salty" crocodile, and star of the Gosford Reptile Park, has a little snack back in 2003 when we last visited him. He died in July 2007 at Gosford's Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales.
At 5m long and 700kg, Eric was the largest croc in NSW and the main attraction of the park at the time of his death.
Handed to the park in 1989, Eric was labelled a "problem crocodile" from an early age.
Implicated in the disappearance of two Aboriginal children in the NT in the 1980s, Eric was captured for the safety of the community and taken to Darwin Crocodile Farm where his welcome rapidly wore thin.
Eric bit off the heads of two female crocodiles with whom he was supposed to mate and lost his right rear leg in a duel with a fellow croc.
But he mellowed with age and was a sedate star attraction with a fan club of 10,000 members across the world.
Every year Eric consumed his own body weight in chicken, goat and fish.
"Eric was much more than a crocodile," Reptile Park owner Robyn Weigel said.
"He was a day-to-day part of our lives and held with great affection in our community and in fact throughout Australia."
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ACL1978 (7507) 2012-09-11 14:50
An interesting and, I think, uncharacteristic shot from you, Will. Great action moment, and seeing 'the kill' up close like that is a bit unsettling, especially after being confronted with the teeth. The sharpness isn't optimal - is this perhaps a small crop from a larger photo?
Royaldevon (30713) 2012-09-12 1:22
Though they didn't bite off heads, I've had similar problem children who have mellowed with age, or maybe with attention!
Although you cannot show movement in a photograph, this one certainly infers it, with light on the water creating so many green hues and reflections, that the waves have been frozen in time, as Eric broke the surface. I particularly like how you have captured the irridescent colour under the water; we have all seen something similar and it refreshes our memories.
I imagine he was quite a sight to see! I wonder if they have acquired any other rebellious stat to take his place!
Have a lovely day,
abmdsudi (44196) 2012-09-13 2:12
A very fine closeup of this very unfriendly croc, an ancient surviving creature, and this must have been an amazing encounter to have experienced. Nature in the raw in every way but you made the most of the opportunity freezing the motion in this dynamic shot, snapping away his meal. Excellent exposure displaying the clarity around the mighty sharp teeth which are beautiful but gruesome and the most frightening. Lovely play of light on the water in extreme condition but manageable. This is incredible action shot and your note is interesting but never trust a croc even when it gives you a great shot like this, and the weakest of them probably make man look pathetic & wimpy. I'm not that afraid of the leopards I've seen, but crocs scare me to death! especially this one you captured. Great shot Will, TFS
kathryn_weir (2056) 2012-09-13 8:46
This is a familiar sight. Near our house in Australia. Would you believe my children cried when they heard "lovely" old Eric had died- we were living in HK at the time but used to see him on our annual visit home which always included the reptile park.
There is indeed a replacement feature croc Bev and they ran a competition to get a name for the new star.
He was a sight to see And i like the way the water is caught dripping off his lunch. I know it can be hard to capture these big guys because they move incredibly fast, just thankful I am not one of the handlers who feeds him his lunch! You did well to frame it so well
trevormoffiet (3112) 2012-09-13 15:40
This is a great image of Eric "catching" his dinner. I also like the inferred movement with the ripples on the water and the inclined position of his head.
This image and your note is nostalgic for me. I visited the Gosford Reptile park numerous times as a kid in the early 60's when the park was located at North Gosford. My wife and I took our own kids there in the late 80's/early 90's before the park moved to Somersby in 1993. We have since taken our grandchildren to the newer park in recent years. Eric the croc was named after Eric Worrell the founder of the park who died in 1987.
emka (80772) 2012-09-14 0:02
Hi Will, rather terrifying view of this lunching monster. amazing close up. interesting this green colour. Of crocodile or water? Very dramatic shot, well executed. And I hope to see crocs at large, very soon.
Silvio1953 (124475) 2012-09-18 10:54
Ciao Will, great lunch for Eric and great capture for you, fantastic details of prey too, splendid light, excellent clarity and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio