By Glen S. Ramos | Published: October 16, 2020
It was a shock to Tawi-Tawi residents when an 18-foot long crocodile surfaced near the shorelines of Simunul town on late afternoon of Thursday, October 14.
Facebook users Grace Nuka and Krystian Amri Mufti shared the hair-raising and overwhelming photos of the creature through their accounts. (Photos grabbed from the Facebook accounts of Grace Nuka and Krystian Amri Mufti.)
Immediately, they said, the sighting was brought to the attention of the Simunul local government officials who turned over custody to the tourism office there.
Before then, coastal residents helped secure the crocodile mouth with a rope before putting a rope in other parts of its body for lifting onto a government truck. It wouldn’t fit in the longest truck available.
The longest and largest saltwater crocodile on record was “Lolong” who was caught in Bunawan creek in the province of Agusan del Sur in the Philippines on September 3, 2011.
Lolong, who was of same specie, measured 6.17 meters or 20 feet 3 inches long, from snout to tail, and weighed 1,075 kilograms. He died on February 10, 2013.
This latest catch is three times longer than Lolong.
The Balabac Islands, located at the southernmost tip of Palawan and nearest Sabah in Malaysia, is known for a huge number of crocodiles lurking in its surrounds.
The area, which is about 463 kilometers from Simunul, is also notorious for the most crocodile attacks in the country.
The latest reported incident was last June when a 30-year old local named Boyet Cayao, resident of Sitio Sebaring 2, Barangay Sebaring, Balabac, was attacked. He was about to go up the stairs of his house, stilted on the waters, when the crocodile grabbed him.
A report from Balabac said Cayao sustained 22 bite marks on his legs and other parts of the body.
Wild Crocs’ Hub
The Crocodylus Porosus Philippines, Inc. (CPPI) recently reported that there is an estimated wild crocodile population of 519 non-hatchlings in 2019.
Non-hatchlings of the species Crocodylus porosus are young crocodiles who could already compete with other predators and are no longer prone to environmental stress.
A crocodile is a large predatory semi-aquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured skin, using submersion and stealth to approach prey.
Its skin is very valuable and used as leather for shoes, jackets and bags.