Smaug’s personality is all lollipops and rainbows. Picture: Justin Kennedy
Smaug’s personality is all lollipops and rainbows. Picture: Justin Kennedy

Smaug: The Russell Crowe of crocs

SMAUG the croc is arguably the Territory's biggest film star, having starred in more than 100 documentaries and a swag of films.

His doting owners call him the Russell Crowe of crocodiles because, "he looks good, he's a movie star and he knows how to act".

Smaug may look lean and fit with a nice set of teeth, but don't be disarmed by his charm - he is a whopping 5m long.

Documentary crews come from around the world to film and photograph Smaug as he lives in a purpose built pen that allows crews to film him underwater through the safety of a caged off area.

Smaug's owner Adam Britton is a Zoologist and crocodile specialist with an interest in crocodile conservation management.

NT News photographer Justin Kennedy got up close and personal with Smaug the 5m saltwater croc. Smaug has been featured in more than 100 documentaries and movies in his filming pen. Picture: Justin Kennedy
NT News photographer Justin Kennedy got up close and personal with Smaug the 5m saltwater croc. Smaug has been featured in more than 100 documentaries and movies in his filming pen. Picture: Justin Kennedy

He said Smaug was well versed in putting on a show for film crews.

"He's so used to film crews and so used to doing certain behaviours and we've trained him to respond in certain ways to certain signals to reproduce certain behaviours which are natural," Dr Britton said.

"He's so good at that we can get film crews from the US and within two hours they've got what they want."

He said crocodiles are relatively easy to train, with the same reward methods used for pets used to train Smaug.

Smaug got his big break on David Attenborough's Life in Cold Blood series more than a decade ago as film crews wanted to get shots of crocodiles mating underwater.

"We said the only way to get that shot reliably was to build something specific and do it in captivity.

They agreed and helped us to build it and helped us to fund it and this is the end result," he said.

"We've had Smaug in here for 12 to 13 years and he's become a bit of a movie star really.

"Any time you see an underwater shot of a crocodile, certainly up until a few years ago it was him he was the only one who did it."

This week, Smaug has been turning on the charm for film crews who are making a sequel to Black Water - a thriller based on several true crocodile attacks in the Territory.

The sequel Black Water: Abyss, is directed by Andrew Traucki and follows a group of tourists who venture into a cave which is home to a crocodile.

The film is due out at the end of the year.



It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

premium_icon It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

Our cheapest deal is back offering the best journalism and rewards

Police celebrate our indigenous heritage

premium_icon Police celebrate our indigenous heritage

POLICE in Gladstone paused to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander...

Budget is keeping things cool with new truck

premium_icon Budget is keeping things cool with new truck

Budget Gladstone has a ‘cool’ new addition to its growing fleet of rentals.