Holy croc-amole: Meet the saltie who likes to dress up
CROCODILES aren't exactly known for being cute and fluffy, but a quirky NT saltie called Stampy - who likes to dress up - is winning hearts across the nation.
Darwin reptile wrangler Chris Peberdy says his 1.5m pet croc has always had a "unique" personality and she had grown fond of dressing up on the odd occasion.
A picture he posted online of Stampy in a taco costume had attracted thousands of views. "Crocs are like people, where they all have their own personalities, and Stampy is one of the most chilled out crocs I've ever come across," he said.
MORE NT CROC YARNS
"Stampy is very a unique croc. She is the exception, not the rule, in regards to her placid behaviour.
"In my opinion, saltwater crocodiles are one of the most dangerous animals in the world - they do see humans as food and must be respected.
"Although they are allowed to be kept as pets in the NT under certain permit conditions, they only should be kept by someone with sufficient skill and knowledge.
"Saltwater crocodiles have the potential to be in any body of water in the Top End; I even check the bathwater."
Mr Peberdy said the 17-year-old croc came into his life in 2004, when he was called out to capture a 30cm baby saltie spotted at a school crossing at Jingili Primary.
"She was initially taken as an egg from the Adelaide River, hatched at a croc farm and was sold as a pet," he said.
"That's when she turned up at the children's crossing.
"I took her in, and you could tell she was really stressed.
"She didn't want to feed for months, and I had to use chopsticks to make sure she did.
"She's a much happier and healthier croc now - chicken wings are her favourite."
Mr Peberdy said he thought early stress might be one of the reasons Stampy was so small for a saltie her age.
"At 17 years, most crocs her age should be well over two metres, but she's at 1.5m," he said.
"That stress seemed to have stunted her growth.
"Female salties also grow much slower than males, but it is still fairly unusual."
You need a permit to keep a crocodile in the Territory because they are protected wildlife. More than 100 Territorians were permitted to own pet crocodiles as of 2018.
Originally published as Holy croc-amole: Meet the NT saltie who likes to dress up