Scientific Name: Crocodylus porosus
Did You Know? Saltwater crocodiles are long-lived animals. Some specimens have been estimated as being over 100 years old.
Habitat: When surprised or lunging out of the water to catch prey, a crocodile can move alarmingly fast. Speeds of around 18 kilometres per hour can be reached over short distances, however, they are slow and cumbersome on land and would have problems keeping up with even a jogging human.They inhabit the mangrove swamps, coastal marshes, and river mouths, around the top of Western Australia
, the Northern Territory and Queensland. They will travel as far up stream as they can swim, often taking advantage of seasonal floods to access areas which are normally too difficult to reach. Saltwater crocodiles are also quite capable of living in the open ocean for periods of time and will cross large expanses of water to reach new areas. This dispersal ability means they are widespread in south-east Asia, New Guinea and some of the PacificIslands.
Diet: Saltwater crocodiles are strictly carnivorous. Fish, birds, and mammals that venture near the water’s edge are all eaten. The adult crocodiles will eat almost anything that comes too close. Younger crocodiles will eat smaller fish and insects. Other animals also eaten, such include wallabies, water buffalo, cattle, flying foxes, crabs and turtles. Humans are not a regular part of a large crocodile’s diet but a person at the water’s edge washing dishes or having a drink looks very similar in a crocodile’s eyes to any other mammal and is thus treated as a potential food item. Crocodile attacks only take place because people disregard the dangers associated with our northern waterways, a little common sense will ensure such incidents do not occur.
Reproduction: The female lays around 50 eggs in a small nest of decomposing vegetation above the flood line during the wet season. The female will keep watch over the eggs for the incubation period, usually about 12 weeks. After hatching she will assist the young to reach the water and will stand guard over them until they disperse over the following few weeks.
Article contributed by Australian Reptile Park