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Photo of Giant Crocodile. Is it Real or Fake?

9:11 AM, Jul 14, 2011   |    comments
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. --  When a photograph of a massive crocodile in Australia on the Adelaide River was in a newspaper article on the internet, it spurred a lot of discussion... at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

There was a gentleman's debate between the director of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, John Brueggen and the owner, David Drysdale. The question: has the photo been doctored?

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Brueggen told Drysdale, "It's real. It's real. Look at the foreground."

Drysdale looked closer and calmly said, "No, no. Of course it's not."

According to newspaper articles, the three-legged crocodile is Brutus. He's one of many large crocodiles in the river tourists can see. The photo shows him leaping from the water to eat a piece of meat on a pole above the water.

Back at the Alligator Farm, both Drysdale and Brueggen know their stuff when it comes to reptiles and they've traveled the world to see exotic animals.

Drysdale reminded Brueggen, "You've seen crocs on the Adelaide and I've got photos of the same thing from a boat, but they're none (crocodiles) out there that look like that."

Brueggen studied the photo, and he believes it's a real photo.

It's a large animal, just look at the dimensions," Brueggen said. "Small crocs that are made to look like big crocs -- to those of us that know them - we know immediately because their head shape is different and their teeth are different."

According to the newspaper articles, the jumping crocodile was 17 feet.

Brueggen said saltwater crocs can certainly get that big.  In fact, the Alligator Farm's famous crocodile named Gomek was a little less than 18 feet long.  Gomek died in 1997, but the beast was stuffed and is still on display at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. 

Mary Hubley has a website company and she's used PhotoShop for ten years.  She knows how easy it is to alter a photo.  Her thoughts on this one from Australia?

"To me, it looks to me like it's the real thing," Hubley said.

She says the shadows are right, where people are looking is consistent, and even the pixels in the photo match up.

As for the two men from the Alligator Farm, they agree the animal's image is of a crocodile that size, but was the toothy guy pasted into the picture or is the photo real?

Standing next to one another, Drysdale answered, "I don't think it's real." Brueggen laughed, "I do!"


6ABC Action News, GMA

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