An Australian retiree was killed by a pair of crocodiles in what could be the first recorded instance of two of the beasts working together on a hunt.
Andrew Heard, 69, was fishing from a dinghy north of Townsville in February 2021 when he was attacked.
According to a coroner’s report released on Tuesday, he was first attacked by a 4.86m male saltwater crocodile nearly twice the length of his boat, and then by a 2.85m female saltwater crocodile.
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“The nature of the damage to mangroves near the water’s edge at the attack site suggested that the deceased had attempted to rapidly pull himself up and out of the boat/water at some stage,” the report said.
Heard never returned home, and his damaged vessel covered in bite marks was located early the next day.
“That evening, portions of human tissue were found. The following day, a crocodile seen nearby was captured and appeared to regurgitate human intestine,” the autopsy report detailed.
A second crocodile was later found, also containing human remains.
Both crocodiles were subsequently euthanised.
A Department of Environment and Science report included in the coroner’s findings detailed the investigation that confirmed two crocodiles were involved in the attack, making it a potential world first.
It was breeding season, making it “not unusual” for male crocodiles to tolerate the presence of female crocodiles and be seen in close proximity.
“While it is not unusual that a male crocodile would share a large meal with a female, to my knowledge this is the first time that two crocodiles have been recorded predating a human anywhere,” the department reported.
The male crocodile is likely to have launched the initial attack.
“The female likely came in once the man was killed to assist in dismemberment and consumption,” the department reported.
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