According to biology professor Alvin Silverstein’s 1980 book Nature’s Champions, in 1883, a giant saltwater crocodile bigger than Lolong was killed in the Philippines. It measured 27 feet (8.23 meters) from the tips of its snout to the end of its tail. It was also more than 2 tons in weight. Sources say it required the help of 40 men to bring its body ashore. And, when the massive crocodile was opened up for examination, individuals were taken aback to find the segmented remains of a horse, carved into seven distinct pieces.
There’s no photo of the crocodile, because of the record’s date, but if that story is true, it was the largest crocodile ever recorded.
A crocodile bigger than Lolong?
At 20 feet and3 inches (6.17 meters) from snout-to-tail and weighing 2,370 lbs (1,075 kg), the largest properly measured crocodile was Lolong: Australian crocodile expert Dr. Adam Britton sedated and measured Lolong in his enclosure in November 2011, and confirmed him as the world’s longest crocodile ever caught and placed in captivity.
Mr. Silverstein does not give a lot of details about the 1823 Philipinnes crocodile other than its huge size and being a man-eater.
But, if that 1823 measurement was true, the monster crocodile was more than 2 meters longer than Lolong!
Crocodiles continue to grow slowly all their lives, and they can live more than 100 years. But, in recent decades, so many crocodiles have been hunted and killed for their skins. Increases in human populations where crocodiles live also increase the chance of human-crocodile conflicts. That also contributes to the huge decline in crocodile populations.
As a result, very few crocodiles today have a chance to survive at a great age. So, large crocodiles have become very rare.
So it’s possible there were a lot of crocodiles bigger than lolong were lived more than a century ago. But 27 feet (8.23 meters), that’s exceptionally long even for a saltwater crocodile. So I have doubts. If that measurement was true, the crocodile was almost as big as its prehistoric ancestors.
Alvin Silverstein and his wife Virginia Silverstein worked together on a scientific research project at the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, the pair has published more than 160 books on science and health topics.
Alvin Silverstein teaches biology at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York.
- “Nature’s Champions: The Biggest, the Fastest, the Best”. Fascinating profiles of 29 of the world’s most remarkable species of animal and plant life. Book by Alvin Silverstein
- Saltwater Crocodile on Wikipedia
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