Be careful -- he bites.
This huge crocodile is Brutus, the 18-foot-long master of a muddy Australian river and favorite of tourists who embark on cruises in the Northern Territory.
Images of the colossal croc leaping from the Adelaide River to bite at meat dangling on a pole became an overnight sensation Down Under when they appeared last month in local newspapers like The Australian.
"I wasn't expecting anything like this. I couldn't believe how close it got to us. If you put your hand out, you would've touched it," Katrina Bridgeford, the photographer who took the pictures, said at the time. "There was a lot of oohs and aahs and oh my God."
A lot of the details about Brutus' life are unverifiable, but reports say the river monster is 80 years old and weighs two tons. One of his forelegs is missing and legend has it that the massive reptile lost it in a showdown with a shark.
As fast as the photos appeared, doubts about the pictures' authenticity surfaced. Skeptics questioned if the images had been doctored, arguing that the crocodile's wake, shadows and the direction people faced were suspicious.
Tour operators vouch that Brutus is the real thing.
"That crocodile is 100 percent real. We've had forensics police look at the picture," Adelaide River Cruises worker Maxine Bowman told Reuters.
To settle the debate, four photographers and editors examined the pictures for NT News and they unanimously agreed that the pictures seemed bona fide.
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