Did this crocodile attack happen on Changi Beach?

By June 14, 2022 Environment, Society

We received a tip-off of this video being circulated on WhatsApp:

In the video, we see a pack of wild dogs and a crocodile that seems to have emerged from a water body. As a curious dog goes dangerously closer to the crocodile, we see the latter suddenly grab the dog before dragging it to its watery grave. The sounds of dogs wailing follow.

In the background, we hear the voices of two individuals. They’re definitely no Steve Irwins, but we could make out several Malay words like “kenyang” (‘full’), “lapar” (‘hungry’), “habis” (‘gone’/’done’). One of them, probably a fan of dark humour, even says “bye bye”.

According to the individual who tipped us off, the rhetoric being spread is that this incident happened at Changi Beach/the “Changi Tanah Merah area”.

It’s difficult to tell from the video where and when exactly the crocodile attack happened.

Crocodiles in Singapore waters?

When we did a Google search of the keywords “crocodile attack dog changi” in hopes of finding some relevant information, we were led to a thread on local forum HardwareZone, very succinctly titled “[Trending] Crocodile snatch dog on beach”.

In the thread, we see a mix of comments ranging from those who question if the video was indeed taken locally to those who have pointed out prior crocodile sightings in Singapore.

According to the (unofficial) crocodile experts on the thread, it seems like they have identified the crocodile to be a saltwater crocodile.

When we did a search on the saltwater crocodile in Singapore, we were led to a page on NParks which talked about the species:

According to the factsheet, Estuarine Crocodiles (also known as ‘saltwater crocodiles’) occur naturally in the wild in Singapore. They are known to inhabit freshwater and brackish (i.e. water that is saltier than fresh water, but not as salty as seawater) areas such as coastal areas and wetlands. NParks states that the crocodiles are usually found in the water or at the mudflats away from visitor routes, with warning signs and advisory notices posted at areas where they are most often seen.

However, there was an incident in August 2017 during which a crocodile was sighted at Changi Beach Park by an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officer working at Changi Ferry Point Terminal. Earlier that month, a crocodile was also spotted at Pasir Ris Park.

Later that year, in November 2017, yet another crocodile sighting happened at a construction site at East Coast Park.

The then group director of parks at NParks told The Straits Times that “it was likely an estuarine crocodile”, and added these crocodiles “are known to swim freely in the waters between Singapore and Malaysia”. It was also reported that NParks was working with the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) to monitor the sightings, catch and translocate the crocodile.

Most recently, crocodile sightings were reported in the waters off Lim Chu Kang (April 2022) and in a canal in Choa Chu Kang (May 2022).

Given the possibility of a crocodile appearing at a place like Changi Beach, we cannot completely rule out that such an incident happened. However, due to the lack of context or clear indications that the video was indeed taken at the beach (or even in Singapore), it is unproven that this crocodile attack happened in Singapore at Changi Beach.

We have reached out the NParks for clarification and will update the article when they get back to us.

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