SYDNEY (Reuters) - Two workers at a reptile park near Sydney were all shook up Wednesday, running for their lives when a 500 kg crocodile named Elvis suddenly lunged at them, making off with their lawnmower.
Five-meter long Elvis was already not exactly a hunk of burning love, having eaten two girlfriends at another crocodile park where he lived.
He struck again Wednesday, surging out of the water while the workers performed routine maintenance nearby.
"Elvis is quite a dangerous croc, he's a real firecracker," said Tim Faulkner, operations manager at the Australian Reptile Park at Gosford, about an hour's drive north of Sydney.
"He came flying out and before we knew it he had the mower in his mouth and he's taken it back into the water, dropping a couple of teeth in the process."
The cantankerous croc is believed to be between 40 and 60 years old -- more or less in his prime. He was captured near Darwin, in Australia's north, for attacking fishing boats.
Faulkner said it was not unknown for Elvis to chase workers around and that the lawnmower had become an important piece of equipment.
"We have a golden rule -- keep the mower between you and the croc," he said.
While the park workers were safe, the mower was damaged beyond repair, with puncture marks and a torn throttle. Lawrence said Elvis was likely to be hard to handle for a while.
"Crocodiles are real primitive creatures, they've got a real basic set of principles, and he's beaten us today," he said.
"For him, today, he's king of the jungle."
Reporting by Pauline Askin; Editing by Elaine Lies and Paul Tait