Australian Crocodile Facts

There are some interesting Australian crocodile facts.

Crocodiles are some of the Animal Kingdom's supreme survivors, with an evolutionary history of longer than 200 million years – well back into the age of dinosaurs. 

Australian crocodiles belong to the genus Crocodylus, while the smaller American alligators are members of genus Alligatoridae. Here is some information about the two types of crocodiles in Australia - the smaller freshwater crocodiles and the huge and deadly Australian saltwater crocodile - the world's largest crocodile!

Saltwater Crocodile or Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus) Underwater, South Australia
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Australian Crocodile Facts - Freshwater Crocodiles
There are two species of crocodiles in Australia. The smaller, Freshwater Crocodile, also called Johnstone’s Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) is 2-3 metres long, and it can be distinguished from the larger salt water crocodile by its slender snout. Freshwater crocodiles eat fish, crustaceans, insects, smaller reptiles, amphibians, rats, bats and birds. They are found in northern Australia between Cape York Peninsula in the east and Broome in the west, and as opposed to the saltwater crocodiles, they can be found way into the inland: they live in freshwater rivers and lakes in the whole Kimberley region in Western Australia, the Top End of Northern Territory, and in the inland of northern Queensland. The good news is that freshwater crocodiles are not dangerous to humans, although it is not recommended to go swimming with them. Swimmers have been injured, but humans are too large to be their prey and fresh water crocodiles would not attempt to kill us for food.

Juvenile Freshwater Crocodile, Kakadu National Park, Australia
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Australian Crocodile Facts - Freshwater Crocodile Habitats
During the dry season, female Freshwater Crocodiles get around on sandy riverbanks looking for nesting sites. They lay 5-25 eggs and bury them under the sand where the eggs are incubated during 65-95 days before they hatch at the start of the wet season. Only 30% of the eggs ever hatch. The female freshwater crocodile helps the hatchlings out of the eggs and stays with them for several weeks. Life is hard for the newly hatched crocs – goannas, large fish, sea-eagles and other crocodiles may eat them, and generally only 1% of hatchlings survive to maturity. But despite the low survival rate the populations of Freshwater Crocodiles are increasing.

Freshwater Crocodiles, Northern Territory, Australia, Pacific
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Freshwater Crocodile Facts - Where to See them
Freshwater crocodiles are ectothermic (“cold-blooded”) animals and they frequently have to come out of the water to maintain a constant body temperature. During the warmer months they often float in the water to avoid overheating. During the cooler months they are often basking on the riverbanks and this is the best time to see them. Good places to see freshwater crocodiles are Lakefield National Park on the Cape York peninsula in north Queensland, and Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks in Northern Territory.

Baby Crocodile at Pormpuraaw Crocodile Farm, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia
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Australian Crocodile Facts - Australian Saltwater Crocodile
Australian Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the world’s largest crocodile, and it is able to kill humans. They have therefore been one of the most infamous Australian animals, and they were shot to almost extinction before the 1970s when they became protected. Australian Saltwater Crocodile is a massive animal, it can be up to 7m long and weigh over a tonne. You can distinguish it easily from freshwater crocodiles by its broad snout, which reflects its diet: it eats large mammals like kangaroos, buffaloes and cattle but also smaller prey like feral pigs, dingoes, birds and fish. The world’s largest crocodile is found along the coast of northern Australia from Rockhampton in Queensland to Derby in the Kimberley region in Western Australia, where it lives in swamps, rivers and estuaries, and also in the ocean near the coast.

Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus), Kakadu National Park, Australia
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Crocodile Facts - Saltwater Crocodile Habitat
Australian Saltwater Crocodile can often be seen laying on riverbanks during the day, and during the night they hunt in the water. They are very territorial animals, and fights between males can end up in fatal injuries. During the Wet (December-March), female lays 50-60 eggs in a nest built of rotting vegetation near the water. The warm temperature produced by rotting incubates the eggs which hatch after 75-105 days. If the nest temperature has averaged in 31.6°, more males will be born, while higher or lower temperatures will produce more females.

Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus), Northern Territory, Australia
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More Crocodile Facts
The young are only 30cm long when they hatch and vulnerable for predatory fish and birds, goannas and other crocodiles. Female carries the babies carefully to the water, and remains with them for up to three months. Once they are grown up, male youngs have to find a new territory and if a male has to travel across land to find a new waterhole, he risks to die of dehydration. Survivors live for 50 years, and some very large Australian crocodiles are believed to be up to 80 years old. Read more about world's crocodiles (link coming soon).

One Week Old Australian Saltwater Crocodiles at the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Coowonga, Australia
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Crocodile Facts - Do Crocodiles Have Predators?
Other than humans, Australian saltwater crocodiles have no predators. But Australian crocodiles are incredibly quick predators themselves. When a crocodile sees a prey on the riverbank it sneaks up to it and stays under the water, waiting for the right moment with only eyes and nostrils above the water surface, until it jumps out and pulls the prey under the water. It kills the prey by drowning, then comes out to the riverbank to eat.

Saltwater Crocodile or Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus Porosus) Close-Up, Australia
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Where to See Australian Saltwater Crocodile
Good places to see saltwater crocodiles are Daintree Rainforests in far north Queensland, and Kakadu National Park and Mary River in Northern Territory. In Kakadu and Daintree River there are croc watching tours where you can spot them.

Crocodile (Crocodylidae Crocodilia) Jumping for Food on Adelaide River, Australia
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Crocodile Farms that Have Australian Saltwater Crocodile
Australian zoo parks and crocodile farms also put on croc feeding shows where large crocs are hand fed by trained park rangers. Some of the examples are Darwin Crocodile Farm in Northern Territory and Australia Zoo on Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Twenty Four Foot Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodilus Porosus), Hartleys Creek, Queensland, Australia
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Other Zoo Parks that Have Australian Saltwater Crocodile
In many crocodile farms and animal sanctuaries you can get close to baby crocodiles - an example is Billabong Sanctuary south of Townsville in north Queensland.

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