For approximately five years a large male crocodile, locally known as “Sweetheart”, was responsible for damage to aluminium dinghies and their outboard motors on a large billabong on the Finnis River in the Northern Territory
Early in 1979 the pattern of attacks changed and became more frequent, and this was cause for concern for the safety of participants in a proposed fishing competition on the “Sweets Lookout Billabong” even though no one had been hurt.
Wildlife rangers from the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory set a snare or (live trapping) and on the morning of 19th July 1979 the problem crocodile was captured. The jaws were securely bound and the animal was anaesthetised using flaxadil and then towed to the boat ramp on the opposite side of the billabong. During this operation the crocodile became tangled in a submerged log and congested a great deal of water and in its drugged condition drowned.
After five hours of work – four men retrieved Sweetheart from the trap and loaded her aboard a trailer for Darwin. “Sweetheart was still alive breathing freely when loaded for transport to Darwin but though fluid was syphoned from the windpipe Sweetheart did not respond. Sweetheart the terrible darling of the Top End rivers died.
The original intention was to house “Sweetheart” in one of the newly established crocodile farms where it would be part of the breeding program but upon its death it was presented to the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The crocodile was mounted and a full articulated skeleton prepared. Sweetheart is now a permanent exhibition at the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
“Sweetheart” is a Saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porosus)
|Total Length||5.1 Metre|
|Snout/Vent Length||2.45 Metre|
|Maximum Girth||2.3 Metre|
|Age||Approximately 50 years old|
The Stomach Contained:
Pig bones and bristles
Two long-necked turtles
Parts of large Barramundi