Largest saltwater crocodile in captivity died of ‘stress’ after ‘eating schoolgirl’

Users of the social media platform Reddit have shared their sadness at the death of the largest saltwater crocodile after two years in captivity.

Measuring 21-feet long and weighing 157st, Lolong was declared the biggest of its kind in captivity by the Guinness World Records back in 2012.

However, following his capture in September 2011, the mighty creature suffered from so much stress that by February 13, he was discovered in his Philippines enclosure upside down with a bloated stomach, The Daily Star writes.

A snap of a man poking Lolong with a stick while he was still alive has recently been uploaded to the Reddit community ‘Interestingasf***’, reigniting an interest in the upsetting story.

The distressing image was captioned: “‘Lolong’ was the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity. He died because of ‘fungal infection’ and ‘stress’ two years after being captured.”

Mayor Cox Elorde of Bunawan township handles the corpse of Lolong
Mayor Cox Elorde of Bunawan township handles the corpse of Lolong

Reports of Lolong’s death at the time stated that he was originally hunted for three weeks after killing at least one person in the Philippines.

The monster croc was suspected of eating a fisherman who went missing in the town of Bunawan, and also of eating a 12-year-old schoolgirl whose head had been found two years earlier.

Once captured the crocodile became the star attraction of an eco-tourism park.

Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde said Lolong had been ill for several weeks before his passing. The Mayor told the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper: “He refused to eat since last month and we noticed a change in the color of his face.

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“Our personnel also noticed an unusual ballooning of the reptile’s belly.”

An autopsy was carried out on Lolong
An autopsy was carried out on Lolong

Local vet Alex Collantes claimed unseasonably cold weather could have brought about the downward spiral in Lolong’s health, BBC News reported.

Mr Elorde said he hoped Lolong’s body could be preserved so “people can still look and marvel at him”, and according to Reddit users that is exactly what happened next.

Someone commented: “His remains are displayed at the National Museum of Natural History in Manila.”

Another who had visited the corpse said: “Went to see it when I was there some years ago. Its very, very big. Sort of like seeing a dinosaur recreation. Except you know.. these things still live.”

People in nearby marshlands reportedly complained of being terrorized by crocodiles
People in nearby marshlands reportedly complained of being terrorized by crocodiles

What really struck a chord with those in the social media thread was how bad Lolong’s conditions must have been to mentally and physically break such a tough animal.

People suggested that the crocodile’s story belonged in the community’s sister page depressingasf***.

One Reddit user wrote: “Even more depressing when you realize just how incredible a crocodiles immune system is. They can live in really nasty water and be absolutely fine.

Lolong was suspected of biting a school girl's head off and eating a fisherman
Lolong was suspected of biting a school girl’s head off and eating a fisherman

“The level of filth they must have had this one in for it to die from an infection… it must have been literally sitting in its own shit for 2 years.”

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A couple of people saw his torturous final years in captivity as the lesser of two evils given Lolong’s alleged crimes.

“He ate two people which is why they hunted and captured him. At least they didn’t kill him outright which often happens with animals suspected of preying on people,” someone said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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