Worlds largest captive crocodile celebrates milestone as 18ft beast turns 120

Cassius, the oldest crocodile in the world, celebrated his 120th birthday this week

It’s actually very hard to tell a crocodiles’s age, that's how old scientists believe him to be.

All that is known for certain is that the 18-foot-long reptile was already old in 1984 when he was captured on an Australian cattle farm where he had been causing trouble.

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"He was 16 feet, 10 inches with at least another 6 inches of tail missing and a bit of a snout missing," said Grahame Webb, one of the crocodile researchers who helped capture Cassius.

Grahame told ABC News. "He was a big old gnarly crocodile then. Crocs of that size are not normal."

Professor Webb added that Cassius was estimated to be somewhere between 30 and 80 years old at the time his capture.

"He's quite possibly over a century — maybe 120 years," he said.

Since the mid-1980s Cassius has lived at the reptile sanctuary on Green Island, just off the coast of Queensland.

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"There is no way of knowing Cassius's actual age as he was born in the wild and the age is just an estimate," explained Toody Scott, a crocodile keeper who looks after the scaly beast at Marineland Crocodile Park.

Toody told Live Science that the date for the croc’s birthday "was essentially made up a few years ago" and this time of year is actually "the wrong time of year for a crocodile to be born in northern Australia”.

George Craig, who owned Marineland, bought Cassius in 1987, and transported him to Green Island.

Toody, who is Geroge’s grandson, said: ”When he first set eyes on him, he knew Cassius was something special,"

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Even now, at the age of around 120, Cassius “still has a lot of spark in him," Toody said.

"Generally, the big old reptiles tend to sort of be pretty docile and disinterested.

"Cassius is always up for interaction. He's one of our liveliest crocs and very engaging.

"Anytime he sees you, he wants to come and say g'day and his eyes light up."

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