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15-Foot, 1,300-Pound Crocodile Captured After 10 Years of Lurking in Murky River

A massive, car-sized crocodile that had long evaded park authorities was finally captured in Australia. The hunt for this hulking creature lasted a decade, with rangers in the Northern Territory persistently wary of a scaly behemoth lurking somewhere in the depths of the Katherine River. 

Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife began their latest hunt in May, and finally managed to wrangle the animal on Monday after sedating it. It's size did justice to the legend: At 15-feet and 1,322 pounds, the Saltwater Crocodile was prehistoric-looking and huge as hell. Rumors of the very big croc had become the stuff of folklore, with boat tour operators often capturing glimpses of a "long dark tail," according to the Katherine Times

Authorities started an annual aerial survey in May, which confirmed the once-mythical beast's existence. They placed traps in the river two weeks ago, and claim the very large croc wasn't all that hard to corral. (So much for modesty).

“When they are this big we just sedate them, so there is no chance of us getting chomped,” NT Parks and Wildlife ranger Chris Heydon said. 

Rangers believe the crocodile is around 60 years old, making it the eldest and largest of three Salties spotted during the survey. It was caught alongside another, much smaller croc, which stretched a still reasonably gigantic 7-feet. 

Authorities were happy to remove the potential hazard from the Katherine River, making it safer for swimmers and tourists to not be swallowed alive by a gaping mouth. Still, Ranger John Burke urged caution.

“Even though it is the dry season, crocs are around. They are always moving around regardless of the temperature,” he said. “The population is growing.”

Anyway, while removing a crocodile threat from a heavily populated area is good news, it doesn't mean giant scaly crocodilians and their alligator brethren aren't fun to look at.

Just make sure you enjoy from a distance. 

h/t Vice

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Esquire. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.