The largest crocodile in captivity has celebrated turning 110 by being given a special birthday cake made out of MEAT.
Cassius the saltwater croc is a staggering 17ft 11 inches long and weighs in excess of one tonne.
And for the past 25-years visitors to the Marineland Melanesia on Green Island in Australia have been left stunned by the enormity of the deadly reptile.
He has just hit the 110-year milestone and to celebrate the landmark birthday staff at the zoo treated the fierce predator to a 20kg meat cake.
The giant meal was made up of chicken and beef with chicken necks as candles, all roped together with a sausage lining.
Cassius, who despite his age is still incredibly aggressive, polished the mammoth meal off in less than 30 seconds.
Marineland Melanesia, which lies off the coast of Queensland, is run by 82-year-old former crocodile hunter George Craig.
George opened the zoo in 1969 and introduced a then 17ft 4 inch Cassius to the centre in 1987.
Cassius was a trouble crocodile in the Finis River at the time, notorious for attacking rivals and boats – even biting off outboard motors.
So fearless George drove drove 3,000km with him in his truck before taking him across to the island on boat.
Cassius was officially recognised as the world’s largest crocodile in captivity by Guinness in 2011 but lost the title later that year to Lolong, an 20ft monster in the Philippines.
But Lolong died earlier this year, handing the intimidating title back to Cassius, who is estimated to have turned 110 years old.
Billy Craig, 22, is George’s grandson and works at Marineland Melanesia.
He said: “Cassius came to us in 1987 after he was captured in the Finis River in the Northern Territory after attacking boats and causing a nuisance.
“Nobody wanted poor Cassius around so after three years of having nowhere to go, George found him, purchased him and brought him to Green Island where he has been ever since.
“When Cassius was brought here, we suspected he must have been at least 80-90 years old at the time. This was evident by his size, weight and condition.
“That was 26 years ago and since then he has grown 6 inches and is still doing very well in his health.
“To celebrate we had made for him a large meat cake. Beforehand we were not exactly sure if he would be able to eat the whole thing but we were proven wrong and after about 30 seconds he had finished it and was waiting for more.”
Saltwater crocodiles are the largest of the crocodilian family and, despite their name suggests, will happily live in freshwater conditions.
Following a ban on hunting of the reptile in Australia, ‘salties’ have flourished and have been known to attack and kill humans who have risked entering their environment.
And once they get hold of their prey it is near-on impossible to get them off, with the saltwater crocodile having the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom.
Their bite force is almost twice as powerful as the Great White Shark.
Cassius is the star attraction at the zoo and was recently given his own Facebook page. ‘Cassius the Croc’.
But despite being cared for by the zoo for more than a quarter of a century, staff are under no illusions about Cassius’s opinion of them.
Billy added: “While being a typical crocodile in most ways, Cassius is also very different to most younger crocs.
“He is very calculating and deceptive. He is old and slow these days but he uses this to his advantage .
“He makes you believe he is safe and approachable, but in reality it is a very different story.
“Cassius weighs more than 1,000kg and when he gets excited, he can throw his weight around just like any younger croc and this is very scary to witness.
“He recognises George, myself and the other keepers but only in the sense that we are the silly ones who get close to him and therefore could be a potential dinner one day.
“If he did ever get that chance he would make use of it and kill us very quickly.”
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