On Nov. 20, 2021, the Facebook page The State of Hawaii published a post claiming that the island state was in the process of importing 174 saltwater crocodiles from Australia to kill off endemic and dangerous sharks.
We are in the process of importing 174 adult salt water crocodiles from Australia. Over the last few years we have had numerous shark attacks across the state that have resulted in injury and death, we need to do something to stop them.
Studies in Australia have shown that over the last 40 years not one single shark attack has occurred near beaches where salt water crocodiles are present. Sharks do not like crocodiles. So by bringing these majestic animals to Hawaii's waters we will hopefully get the same results, making Hawaii beaches safer
Salt Water Crocodiles are endemic to north east Australia who's climate is very similar to Hawaii's, we expect them to do very well here. We are bringing in multiple breeding pairs and hope that over the next few years they will breed allowing us to develop a healthy heard of crocs. The crocodiles will be protect by law just as we protect the Hawaiian Monk seals and Green Seat Turtle. They will be illegal to hunt, eat or keep.
We want to take this opportunity to also remind people to respect our wildlife and do not try to pet or feed the Salties
A look through Facebook revealed that this isn’t the first time the posts had intrigued the minds of internet sleuths. The post was shared by two satirical Facebook pages, CnC Honolulu on May 30, 2019, and The State of Hawaii one year later.
This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events and the post originated with a social media page that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature. The “about” section on the The State of Hawaii page is riddled with typos inconsistent with an authentic government page and notes that it is “The Official The State of Hawaii Page.” It also recognizes that the official name for the government and state is, “State of Hawaii,” sans the first “the.” The page has more than 57,000 followers.
An identical post was also shared to the 7,600 Facebook followers of CnC Honolulu, a self-described “entertainment website” with an "about" section that reads information available on the page is “NOT from the city and county of Honolulu.”
The ocean conservation organization Oceana notes that while saltwater crocodiles, or “salties,” can be found in tropical, warm waters like those in Hawaii, the large reptiles are only found in the coastal areas of eastern India and the western Pacific oceans. American crocodiles, scientific name Crocodylus acutus, live in brackish or saltwater at the southern areas of Florida, which constitute their most northern range, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
And if you’re wondering who would win in a prehistoric match-up of crocodile versus shark, we found multiple accounts of the former dining on the latter (though in most cases it was a small or already dead shark).
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.
“Alligators Attack and Eat Sharks, Study Confirms.” Animals, 20 Sept. 2017, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/american-alligator-sharks-predators-stingrays.
“American Crocodile Crocodylus Acutus.” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/reptiles/american-crocodile/. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Can a Crocodile Eat a Shark - Google Search. https://www.google.com/search?q=can+a+crocodile+eat+a+shark&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS910US910&oq=can+a+crocodile+eat+a+shark&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i512l9.2527j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcnchonolulu%2Fposts%2Fwe-are-in-the-process-of-importing-6-adult-salt-water-crocodiles-from-australia-%2F2349023525344857%2F. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTheStateOfHawaii%2Fposts%2Fwe-are-in-the-process-of-importing-174-adult-salt-water-crocodiles-from-australi%2F817478415442941%2F. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
Photographer Captures Moment Huge 1,500lb Crocodile Eats Shark. https://www.ladbible.com/news/animals-photographer-captures-moment-huge-1500lb-crocodile-eats-shark-20210326. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.
“Saltwater Crocodile.” Oceana, https://oceana.org/marine-life/saltwater-crocodile/. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.