Giant crocodile 'Lolong' is among most-shared stories on Facebook in 2011

Along with satellite photos of Japan before and after this year's deadly earthquake and tsunami that appeared on the New York Times and parenting advice on CNN, a Yahoo! story on the Philippines' biggest catch—a crocodile named "Lolong”—was a top 10 most shared story among U.S. users of Facebook in 2011.

The list, dubbed "Most Shared Articles on Facebook in 2011," offers a snapshot of what people are reading.

The capture of "Lolong" captivated the whole world because of the animal’s size. Measuring 21 feet or 6.4 meters and weighing at least a ton, the giant crocodile is now a tourist attraction in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, a southern Philippine town.

The crocodile was said to have killed a water buffalo before villagers captured it. It took more than 100 people to pull the crocodile from a creek to a clearing, the story went.

Other stories people shared
Other most-shared topics were not surprising. They varied from reports about an incorrect horoscope (“No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed”), to parenting (“Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps”), and to trivial and endearing stories ("Dog in Japan stays by the side of ailing friend in the rubble").

Writing for Techcrunch, Josh Constine observed that Americans seemed most interested in tragedy and the odd. "Only one article in the top 20 dealt with the financial crisis," he noted.

Also, it was clear that American users of Facebook shared stories from top news websites like the New York Times, CNN, Yahoo! News, Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Yahoo! News ties with CNN
Yahoo! News and CNN tied with four stories apiece landing in the top 10.

The list focuses on articles shared by U.S. users over the past year, the "Facebook and Media" group, which created the list, noted.

"The stories range from cute to thought-provoking," the group added.

Facebook has about 800 million users to date.