5 Aug 2015

Crocodile heads found dumped in freezer

10:08 am on 5 August 2015

Australian police are investigating how dozens of severed crocodile heads ended up half-thawed and rotting in a dumped freezer box outside Darwin.

Up to 70 crocodile heads were found in this freezer in Australia's Northern Territory.

Up to 70 crocodile heads were found in this freezer in Australia's Northern Territory. Photo: AAP / NT Police

A group of Northern Territory teenagers discovered the carcasses while riding their bikes through bushland in Humpty Doo, about 40 kilometres out of Darwin, on Sunday.

Territory Superintendent Greg Pusterla told a Darwin local radio station that police called to the scene found between 50 and 70 small saltwater crocodile heads.

One whole 80cm carcass and several hatchlings were among the rotting freezer box remnants.

"It's certainly an unusual report," Superintendant Pusterla said.

NT police have since determined the heads came from the backyard of a person with a permit to keep crocodiles, accoridng to the ABC.

Further investigations are underway.

It is legal to keep crocodiles as pets in the Northern Territory, with some people housing reptiles in suburban backyard pens or makeshift bathtub ponds.

The heads - the byproduct of the crocodile farming industry and generally removed at the base of the skull - often end up being re-sold as tourist items in the region's animal parks.

Senior wildlife ranger Tommy Nichols - a specialist in crocodile management - was among those who attended the crime scene on Monday.

"[We saw] a deep freezer in a sad state of affairs," Mr Nichols told 105.7 ABC Darwin.

"There was quite a bad smell and maggots around everywhere."

It was not the first time Mr Nichols had arrived to such a scene.

"It's not so rare. A lot of people keep some strange things in freezers," he said.

Mr Nichols said he had previously discovered snakes, cane toads and "a puppy dog" stored in storage boxes and deep freezers.