The Far North's Cassius crowned king of captive crocodiles
Back on top: Green Island's Cassius has regained his title of the biggest crocodile in captivity in the world. Video: Simon Crerar and Isaac Egan.
CASSIUS has reclaimed his crown.
Green Island's resident giant estuarine crocodile, Cassius, measuring 5.48m, is once again the world's largest crocodile in captivity after Philippines' monster croc Lolong died on Sunday night.
Cassius was first named the world's biggest by the Guinness World Records in 2011 but was stripped of the title last year when the 6.17m Lolong was captured in the Philippines town of Bunawan.
Authorities will try to determine what caused the death of Lolong, who had become a star attraction of the marshy town of 37,000 people about 830km southeast of Manila. Some reports suggest the saltie had fallen ill after swallowing a nylon cord three weeks ago.
Experts estimate that the crocodile was more than 50 years old.
Green Island's Marineland Melanesia owner George Craig, who has been Cassius' keeper since he arrived in Cairns from the Northern Territory in 1987, said he was sad to hear of Lolong's death.
"I'm actually a little bit upset the damn thing conked out," he said.
"He was a very big reptile but he was pretty young looking so he could have grown a little bit bigger."
But Mr Craig said Cassius was showing no signs of slowing down, despite estimates he is more than 100 years old.
"He's still going strong and he's got all his teeth still," Mr Craig said.
The croc has also been the subject of international stardom, with a video of Cassius produced by cairns. com.au attracting about two million hits to date.
He also sparked controversy during a 2011 "croc off"' between The Cairns Post and The Northern Territory News, with Far Northerners and Territorians arguing over bragging rights.
Guinness World Records Australian spokesman Chris Sheedy confirmed this week the title of the world's biggest croc in captivity would revert to Cassius.
"They don't shrink and there's no other crocodile we know of even comes close to Cassius anywhere in the world," he said.
Mr Sheedy said he was not surprised by the strong reaction to Lolong's death.
"When there's a large creature, much larger that it should be, it really captures people's imagination and when those creatures passaway they get emotional," he said.
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True heavyweight: Saltie Cassius is once again the world's largest crocodile in captivity. MARC McCORMACK