Looking to learn more about the mysterious lives of Australia’s saltwater crocodiles, National Geographic’s Young Explorer Trevor Frost set out to capture unique footage of the world’s biggest crocodiles.
His tools: toy remote-controlled boats, foam blocks, duct tape and a handful of GoPro cameras.
His goal: get the “salties” to take a shot at the unusual prey.
The results: National Geographic worthy point-of-view footage of how the crocs bite their prey.
Frost, together with videographer Melissa Lesh, travelled to Northern Australia to film the powerful reptiles near the city of Darwin.
Considering the massive size of the crocs, with males averaging 5 meters and 450 kg, the duo’s camera setup was surprisingly small and lightweight. The team simply mounted a GoPro to the top of a remote-controlled boat and used duct tape to attach protective foam blocks around the camera.
Clarifying that there was nothing fancy about their rig, not even the RC boat, Lesh told NG that it was “the kind you would find at a toy store or hobby shop”.
Frost and Lesh spent a month with the crocs and have nine POV bites, as well as other awesome footage, to show for it. This unique footage also shows various strategies the crocs use to capture prey.
I bet by this point some of you are wondering how many GoPros were sacrificed in the name of science, and unbelievably the answer is none! That’s right, nine times the animals with the strongest bite ever measured (4,900 kg per square inch of pressure) chomped down on the flimsy contraptions but the duct-taped foam worked like magic.
An example of one of the bites, although unsuccessful, can be seen below:
The prehistoric-looking reptiles were almost hunted to extinction, but preserved habitat and regulated hunting allowed the Australian salties’ population to recover over the last 30 years to roughly 100,000. The impressive recovery of the crocodile population, along with the never ending increase in human populations, has lead to a number of fatal interactions and some are now calling to kill some crocs to control their population.
That being said Foster, as well as other crocodilian experts, claims that culling is not the answer and that people need to be educated about safety around the animals.
Foster and Lesh will be returning to Darwin in December to capture more footage of these incredible crocodiles.
By the way, remember I mentioned the pair captured awesome footage other than the bites? Check this out:
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Friends, sorry it took me a day longer to get this video out to you; I was on a one day assignment for @sciencemagazine and had limited access to Internet. But here it is!!! Crocodiles have incredibly strong tails. Their tails propel them in the water like torpedoes from a submarine. In fact, as you see here, their tails are so strong that they can propel their entire body out of the water. Crocodiles are so cool. Stay tuned for more amazing crocodile photos and videos. @eddiebauer #liveyouradventure
[via National Geographic]