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Old 21st August 2017, 02:54 PM   #1
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case of the decapitated croc head

back in 2013 the daily mail and other sites were promoting this story that a decapitated nile crocodile head was not because of poachers but of a Great White shark. Was it ever solved what happened? I honestly don't think a GWS did it as it seemed too clean and precise of a cut for an animal to do it


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...th-Africa.html
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Old 22nd August 2017, 01:35 AM   #2
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I doubt anyone actually CSI'd it.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 08:14 AM   #3
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I guess so as well but the idea that a great white dun it seemed so far fetched especially since great whites generally aren't comfortable in warmer waters were this took place
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Old 22nd August 2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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Bull and Tiger sharks could be a culprit, as they'll generally eat anything, but Idk if they'd be able to bite a head clean off a croc. A White is a possibility, but as Set said, they're not entirely comfortable in warmer waters, though that doesn't entirely rule them out, as they tend to pop up in strange places often.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 10:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
Bull and Tiger sharks could be a culprit, as they'll generally eat anything, but Idk if they'd be able to bite a head clean off a croc. A White is a possibility, but as Set said, they're not entirely comfortable in warmer waters, though that doesn't entirely rule them out, as they tend to pop up in strange places often.
Also the video they showed the cut was too for clean for a shark from what I know about shark bites
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Old 22nd August 2017, 10:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
Also the video they showed the cut was too for clean for a shark from what I know about shark bites
Some sharks have cleaner bites than others. Bulls generally leave almost knife-like cuts, whereas a Tiger shark may leave more ragged marks behind. The rare Glyphis shark leaves some clean cuts, and also lives in the same waters as crocs down in Aus, along with Bull sharks.

White sharks do leave pretty clean cuts behind, though.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 11:46 AM   #7
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Now that I think about it, a white shark is probably the most likely, if it wasn't a propeller or something.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 02:01 PM   #8
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But don't white sharks still leave behind torn flesh and circular marks around the places they bite?
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Old 22nd August 2017, 02:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
But don't white sharks still leave behind torn flesh and circular marks around the places they bite?
Not necessarily. They could feasibly bite a head clean off, to an extent. The croc's decapitation isn't necessarily as clean as it makes out in the article, it's sort of uneven, and leaves some flesh beyond the head area.

It's a wonder that they didn't check for any particular bite markings, as they can usually tell right away what kind of shark made the kill.

Poachers seems unlikely, to me anyway, as I don't know if they'd just throw the head away like that when they could make good money on it.

Tiger sharks will attack anything, like Bull sharks, but they're not really big enough to bite a croc's head off like that, unless it was a huge one, which isn't impossible; Tiger's and Bull's can grow fairly big.

Imho, I'd say White shark, but who really knows?
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Old 22nd August 2017, 02:40 PM   #10
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This may not be the result of a single shark attack, and it's even possible that the croc died and was scavenged.

I doubt that the head was severed with a big bite and instead suggest that the body was eaten away leaving this. There could have been a number of predators and scavengers working away leaving this as the end result.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 02:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
This may not be the result of a single shark attack, and it's even possible that the croc died and was scavenged.

I doubt that the head was severed with a big bite and instead suggest that the body was eaten away leaving this. There could have been a number of predators and scavengers working away leaving this as the end result.
That's true. It tends to happen with whales. I wouldn't necessarily rule a White shark out, though, as it seems a fairly uniform separation. If it bit it head-on, it could certainly detach the head and neck, as it's not really a huge example of a croc.

There was talk of it possibly being a hippo, although others have mentioned the fact that there were shark-like tooth incisions along the flesh.

If it'd died before, I'd say a Bull shark might have done the rest, seeing as they'd be pretty comfortable in those waters, more than Whites.
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Old 22nd August 2017, 05:36 PM   #12
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Find dead croc. Chainsaw. Video. Profit.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 04:56 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Find dead croc. Chainsaw. Video. Profit.
lol.

A croc head can fetch a pretty penny, too.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 06:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
That's true. It tends to happen with whales. I wouldn't necessarily rule a White shark out, though, as it seems a fairly uniform separation. If it bit it head-on, it could certainly detach the head and neck, as it's not really a huge example of a croc..
It would have taken a BIG shark to do so if that was the case and sharks rarely bite their prey from the front they usually attack from below or the side
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Old 23rd August 2017, 06:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
It would have taken a BIG shark to do so if that was the case and sharks rarely bite their prey from the front they usually attack from below or the side
Well White sharks are pretty big, much bigger than that croc. That's true, but there are plenty examples of sharks attacking from the front. There are many cases of decapitated swimmers/divers/surfers, and also dolphin heads and tuna heads turning up in the stomachs of sharks.

It's not entirely out of the question.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 08:00 AM   #16
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Highly doubt a shark did that.

My guess, somebody found a dead croc and thought, "hey let's take its head."
Then once they got it in the boat they thought "Holy crap that stinks! Throw it back"

And a legend was born...
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Old 23rd August 2017, 08:33 AM   #17
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It's not just the head. The neck is there too.

So this is a Nile crocodile found in the ocean - which is unusual. That is not typical habitat at all. Prolonged exposure to saltwater might kill or greatly stress this species. They have occasionally been observed in saltwater but certainly do not make a lifestyle of it.

I don't think we are going to be able to determine exactly what happened in whatever sequence of events. It could have died in a river and was washed out to sea where it was then scavenged by sharks.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 08:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It's not just the head. The neck is there too.

So this is a Nile crocodile found in the ocean - which is unusual. That is not typical habitat at all. Prolonged exposure to saltwater might kill or greatly stress this species. They have occasionally been observed in saltwater but certainly do not make a lifestyle of it.

I don't think we are going to be able to determine exactly what happened in whatever sequence of events. It could have died in a river and was washed out to sea where it was then scavenged by sharks.
There's a chance that it was also scavenged in the river itself, as Bulls often frequent rivers.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 09:04 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
Well White sharks are pretty big, much bigger than that croc. That's true, but there are plenty examples of sharks attacking from the front. There are many cases of decapitated swimmers/divers/surfers, and also dolphin heads and tuna heads turning up in the stomachs of sharks.

It's not entirely out of the question.
Attacking the "front" of large prey is not at all typical for GWS. It's a bad strategy for hunting mammals such as pinnipeds and cetaceans because it allows the prey a moment to see the attacking shark and instantly evade it. What is most typical is a very fast attack from behind and below. With pinniped prey they really do avoid the front area as initial contact because they can be injured by teeth and claws in addition to putting themselves in sight and being evaded.

Finding heads inside shark stomachs does not mean that the attack began at the front with the head being bitten off.

The OP is unfortunately leading because of the use of the term decapitated. This suggests that the head was removed from the body as a singular act, and we are then inclined to search for the origin of that cause. But if the croc's body was torn apart and eaten leaving only the head and neck then we no longer will conceptualize or describe it as a decapitation.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 09:17 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
There's a chance that it was also scavenged in the river itself, as Bulls often frequent rivers.
Yes, and GWS will also enter rivers and estuaries, though not at all as common as bull sharks.

It seems likely that this is either shark or human caused. But I don't know if we could completely eliminate attacks by other crocodiles or killer whales.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 09:29 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Attacking the "front" of large prey is not at all typical for GWS. It's a bad strategy for hunting mammals such as pinnipeds and cetaceans because it allows the prey a moment to see the attacking shark and instantly evade it. What is most typical is a very fast attack from behind and below. With pinniped prey they really do avoid the front area as initial contact because they can be injured by teeth and claws in addition to putting themselves in sight and being evaded.

Finding heads inside shark stomachs does not mean that the attack began at the front with the head being bitten off.

The OP is unfortunately leading because of the use of the term decapitated. This suggests that the head was removed from the body as a singular act, and we are then inclined to search for the origin of that cause. But if the croc's body was torn apart and eaten leaving only the head and neck then we no longer will conceptualize or describe it as a decapitation.
It's not their M.O. by any means, but they've been known to do it. They're ambush predators, but they can surprise you by doing things differently from time to time. There's a few stories of people having been decapitated by Whites.

It's certainly not the likeliest solution, but it's not beyond possibility, imo.

I'm inclined to believe that if it came from a river that it was killed either by a hippo or a bull shark. Nothing is clear, tbh, though.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 09:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Yes, and GWS will also enter rivers and estuaries, though not at all as common as bull sharks.

It seems likely that this is either shark or human caused. But I don't know if we could completely eliminate attacks by other crocodiles or killer whales.
But I don't think white sharks generally last very long in rivers and estuaries do they. They are salt water fish and aren't too comfortable there
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Old 23rd August 2017, 10:04 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
But I don't think white sharks generally last very long in rivers and estuaries do they. They are salt water fish and aren't too comfortable there
It can depend, as with places like Australia, you have rivers that feed into the ocean, and the waters can mix, causing parts of the rivers to become more "salty", which can enable species that do not normally frequent the rivers to find themselves there.

In Aus, you can find some species of sharks in rivers that don't belong there, whereas you have sharks like bulls and glyphis's that do frequent rivers and are generally comfortable in both fresh and salt water.

As WP said, killer whales could also be a possibility, as are a host of other creatures.

We still can't rule out humans, although I'd rule out poachers, due to the head being left behind.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 10:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
But I don't think white sharks generally last very long in rivers and estuaries do they. They are salt water fish and aren't too comfortable there
They are probably as uncomfortable as a Nile crocodile would be in saltwater.

We are at some disadvantage because we don't know the specific location where this was found. We don't know about nearby rivers or lakes that have croc populations. We don't know if hippos are nearby.

I don't think this is a GWS attack in a river or estuary because they are really rare in those environments. But we are sort of listing all possibilities even if very highly unlikely.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 10:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Gilbert Syndrome View Post
We still can't rule out humans, although I'd rule out poachers, due to the head being left behind.
If it was killed by humans I would expect a bullet hole in the head. It could be there and not readily visible, but it looks like there is no gunshot wound. Maybe that's the best clue for it not being killed by people for the meat, skin or other parts.
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Old 23rd August 2017, 10:50 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
They are probably as uncomfortable as a Nile crocodile would be in saltwater.

We are at some disadvantage because we don't know the specific location where this was found. We don't know about nearby rivers or lakes that have croc populations. We don't know if hippos are nearby.

I don't think this is a GWS attack in a river or estuary because they are really rare in those environments. But we are sort of listing all possibilities even if very highly unlikely.
acutally ALL crocodiles are able to live as comfortably in saltwater as Australian ones
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Old 23rd August 2017, 12:41 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Setsurinvich View Post
acutally ALL crocodiles are able to live as comfortably in saltwater as Australian ones
When you say "Australian ones" you must be talking about the species commonly known as Saltwater Crocodile. But I'm unfamiliar with the trivia that all crocodiles are "comfortable" in saltwater.

The Nile crocodile only occasionally is found in pure seawater even though its range and habitat includes thousands of miles of coastal area.

I found a citation explaining that Nile crocs can be acclimated to saltwater; but we already knew that because they are found there on occasion.

Originally Posted by Leslie & Spotila abstract
Nile crocodiles of three age classes, hatched in captivity and reared in fresh water, when exposed acutely to water of 17 and 35 ppt NaCl, suffered marked dehydration, were lethargic, ceased to feed and lost mass. When exposed to gradually increasing salinities (3-35 ppt), with a short acclimation period at each salinity, crocodiles survived, continued to feed and increased in mass and size...
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10964030
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Old 29th August 2017, 08:22 AM   #28
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Late to the party, but isn't a cut-off head disembodied, i.e., minus a body? The body itself would be decapitated, or minus a head.
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Old 29th August 2017, 08:34 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
If it was killed by humans I would expect a bullet hole in the head. It could be there and not readily visible, but it looks like there is no gunshot wound. Maybe that's the best clue for it not being killed by people for the meat, skin or other parts.
Plus, as may have been mentioned above, the head would represent considerable value.
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Old 29th August 2017, 02:10 PM   #30
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You know, people don't start out as pros at their chosen careers. Everyone has to begin somewhere.

Have we considered this may have been entry-level poachers, lacking a solid plan of action, spooked by something/someone in the act and having to light out leaving their trophy behind?
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Old 30th August 2017, 02:56 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
We are at some disadvantage because we don't know the specific location where this was found. We don't know about nearby rivers or lakes that have croc populations. We don't know if hippos are nearby.

I don't think this is a GWS attack in a river or estuary because they are really rare in those environments. But we are sort of listing all possibilities even if very highly unlikely.
We do - the linked article mentions it washed up near St. Lucia which is a nature reserve chock full of both Hippo and Crocodile.

Originally Posted by wiki
The park is also home to about 1,200 Nile Crocodiles and almost 800 Hippopotami.

Other animals include leopards, Greater Kudu, Black Rhinos, rich avifauna and numerous invertebrates

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Lucia,_KwaZulu-Natal

ETA: St. Lucia is an estuary/wetlands system with plenty of rivers running into the ocean, so everything lines up.

The only thing is that the GWS tend to stay further south in the colder waters. KwaZulu-Natal has warmer waters and tends to have far more Tiger shark than GWS.
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Old 30th August 2017, 07:04 AM   #32
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The body spontaneously evolved into a duck's and floated away.
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Old 30th August 2017, 07:33 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
The body spontaneously evolved into a duck's and floated away.
Quick, someone call Ray, he needs to hear about this!!
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