Lord mayor of London Boris Johnson meets George the royal crocodile at Darwin International Airport. Photo: Glenn Campbell
He's a royal baby called George, and he's been kissed by the lord mayor of London. But his jaws were tied firmly shut when it happened.
A crocodile hatchling was the star turn at a meeting between Boris Johnson and Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles, who has gifted the reptile to the infant Prince George of Cambridge in the hope that it will draw the royal couple and their son to the Top End.
The croc, which is named George after the Prince, came from an egg that was laid at the Darwin Crocodile Farm on December 3, the day Prince William and Kate Middleton announced they were having a baby.
George the royal crocodile is a gift from the Northern Territory to the son of Prince William and Duchess Catherine. Photo: Glenn Campbell
He hatched on February 20, and is now 51 centimetres long and 410 grams in weight.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have said they hope to visit Australia next year and Mr Giles has invited the royal family to come to the Territory.
“The Duke has mentioned he is finding the demands of fatherhood tiring. I think it's the perfect time for him to consider bringing the Duchess and baby George to the territory for a holiday,” he said on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson, who has been holidaying in the Territory, kissed the crocodile and held him in his hands.
“I think he just burped,” Mr Johnson said.
“As long as it's a burp,” Mr Giles responded.
Mr Giles asked Mr Johnson to deliver some photographs of the crocodile to the royal family and encourage them to visit their present, before the London mayor flew south to attend the Melbourne Writers Festival.
George the crocodile has his own Facebook page with 2640 likes.
There are 62,000 crocodiles at the Darwin Crocodile Farm - a mix of crocodiles who have hatched from eggs collected in wild areas, and crocodiles who have been removed from areas where they were threatening humans.
While George's brothers and sisters will be killed for their meat and skins, George's royal status will save him.
“George is the lucky one - he gets to stay alive forever,” said Wade Huffman, the activities manager at Darwin's Crocosaurus Cove, where the croc is on public display.