Snappy – a wildlife ambassador with an unknown backstory

Issued: 13 Dec 2021

He has grown 10cm and gained over 150grams since being found in a Chermside park, and while that doesn’t sound like much, the crocodile known as ‘Snappy’ is also growing stronger.

It is why rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have strict protocols to follow whenever they handle Snappy.

And they have to handle him regularly, because Snappy – a crocodile with an extraordinary story – has become one of Fleay’s environmental ambassadors.

Senior Ranger Miles Pritchett said since Snappy was found distressed and dehydrated at Chermside, he has settled into a new enclosure at David Fleay’s Wildlife Park.

“When estuarine crocodiles hatch, they’re usually about 25cm long, and when Snappy arrived here, he was about 40cm long,” Mr Pritchett said.

“We believe he was less than a year old, and he was moved into a covered outdoor enclosure that allows a lot of natural light and exposure to natural weather patterns.

“Due to his size, his enclosure is in our off-limits area because he is currently too small to be placed into our crocodile exhibit area.

“All wildlife held within a captive wildlife facility like Fleay’s have strict enclosure requirements that need to be met, so the size of his enclosure has doubled since his arrival.

“His diet has transitioned from small pieces of meat to more whole foods which include fish and crayfish, which is why he’s putting on weight.

“He is a bit of a staff favourite here too, because he was found hundreds of kilometres from his normal range, and his backstory, which unfortunately may never be known, has everyone guessing.”

Mr Pritchett said it was Snappy’s backstory that ensured he became part of Fleay’s Wildlife Ambassador Team.

“As a Fleay’s ambassador, Snappy is actively involved in visitor education presentations to school groups and the general public up to three times a week,” he said.

“The Fleays education programs provide visitors with a unique insight into key features and survival challenges for crocodiles in the wild.

“Rangers also share important safety messages with visitors who may visit northern Queensland, and take the opportunity to highlight the challenges and issues about the illegal trade of wildlife in Queensland.

“In terms of his backstory, we want to find out how Snappy ended up in Chermside, so anyone with information is encouraged to call 1300 130 372.

“Snappy will remain within the off-limits enclosure and actively involved in our immersive educational program until he reaches 1.2m in size.

“When he grows beyond 1.2m, his size becomes a greater risk for handling and he will be moved into an external exhibit, where he will still play an ambassadorial role.

“Fleays already has a very large male crocodile on display, Mojo who is 4.5m and Madonna a female who is around 3m, with their enclosure currently being redeveloped to enhance the environment.

“Snappy still has plenty of growing to reach 1.2m, and when he does, a decision will be made as to whether he stays with Fleays or is transferred to another wildlife park or zoo.