Want to see a crocodile cruising the ocean with a turtle clamped in its jaws while a shiver of sharks trails close behind? Look no further than Australia's Northern Territory.

Aerial footage of this unusual scene comes our way from the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, where senior ranger Alan Withers initially filmed a trail of telltale tracks on the beach.

"The tracks in this video tell the story very clearly, where a large crocodile has seen a turtle going up the beach and walked along the sand to the turtle, grabbed it and [took] it back into the water," explains the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife team in a Facebook update. (Handy tip: You might want to watch with the sound off.)


Situated at the very top of the Northern Territory, the park is rugged and remote, and home to six of the seven species of marine turtle. 

"The beaches at Garig Gunak Barlu National Park are major nesting sites for marine turtles. These turtles are also a food source for large crocodiles that prey on the turtles both in the sea and when they come up to lay their eggs," explains the team.

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), or salties, are opportunistic hunters, capable of taking down just about any animal that enters their territory. And thanks to their immensely powerful jaws, the shells of even large turtles are no obstacle.

Although the crocs are quite happy in freshwater or brackish habitats, they're also unique among their kin in how well they tolerate salt water. Some populations spend much of their lives in the ocean, travelling even far out to sea. So it's not at all surprising that the saltie in this video headed for a dip with its newly acquired meal still between its jaws – although it probably wasn't counting on having any company.

"As the story continues we see the crocodile crushing the turtle in the water to eat it. Watch out for the sharks trying to join in for lunch," adds the team. (If you look carefully, you'll see one or two of the hangers-on pretty early, but skip to 2:40 to see whole group.)



Top header image: Luke Durkin, Flickr