of the two species of Australian crocodiles are found in Cape York.
famous one is of
course the man eating, deadly "Salty"
- the world's largest
The other one - the Freshwater
Crocodile - is smaller and not deadly
though it can give you a bite if you harrass it.
The "Freshy" lives in freshwater creeks and gorges, while the saltwater
typically found in saltwater such as the ocean and river mouths, even
though it can also live in freshwater.
Two Species of Australian
recognise by its
It is found in
and billabongs, except near the eastern coast of Cape York.
is only 2-3 metres long and eats small prey such as insects,
and reptiles, birds, bats
and rats. While its habitat can
occasionally overlap with this of the "Salties", the freshwater
crocodile habitat reaches far further inland.
They are also
easier to see than the "Salties" - they lay more often on the rocks and
banks, while salties tend to hide in the water. A good place to see
Saltwater Crocodile(Crocodylus porosus)
the other hand is much larger (up to 7m long), has a broad snout and
will kill a
human for food. It can eat animals as large as cattle and buffaloes but
does take fish, birds and other smaller prey as well.
crocodile is most often found in the ocean water, in
river mouths and well into the rivers, but can also live in freshwater
swamps and billabongs.
You can occasionally spot it laying on a river bank, but it often hides
in murky waters
where you cannot see it, so you should always keep away from the
edge in Cape York and the rest of northern Australia.
people do their whole Cape York trip and never see them, others see
many on each trip. It's about putting some effort in and
taking your time. Go fishing, spend some time in places where you can
I have seen them for example in Jardine
under and around Seisia Wharf,
on the beaches of Red Island, and in the ocean water in Punsand Bay.
freshwater crocodile is not deadly.
its killer cousin -
the Australian saltwater crocodile - the freshie (aka Johnston's crocodile, Crocodylus
not feed on humans.
It is also much smaller, but it still has very sharp teeth,
and has been known
to injure humans
are known to be quite bad
and take ages to heal
so it's definitely worth
leaving it alone and not going close to it. They are
found in freshwater
creeks and billabongs
throughout northern Australia. They do tolerate salt water as well, but
are most often absent from it because they
avoid saltwater crocodiles.
Some of the best places
to see them
Australia are Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge in Northern
Territory, however they are also found throughout the Kimberley area in
west and the Cape York
in the east.
The freshies usually live farther
away from the coast than saltwater crocodiles.
They like to live in upstream
of creeks and rivers, as well as wetlands, lakes, lagoons and
billabongs that are away
coastal reaches, which are inhabited by saltwater
However, they can also be found in lower areas. Like the salties, freshwater
can move between
bodies during the Wet Season floods. If they
to move to a
different waterbody while there are no floods, they can do the ‘high
walk’ with nothing but legs and tail touching the ground.
They can apparently move
distances, and they can even run.
Season ends the crocs go to different water bodies and stay there over
the Dry Season.
They like larger, deeper waterbodies where they often spend time in
waters near the water's edge or sun basking outside the water.
They have been found to return to the same waterbody year after year.
Do They Look Like?
They are much smaller than the salties,
reaching only two (females) to three (males) metres in length and up to
100kg in weight (a saltie can weigh a ton).
The most obvious thing that distinguishes them from the salties is
their slender snout,
to the big fat head of the saltie.
They are most often greyish brown,
with darker markings on the back and a paler belly.
Do They Eat and What Eats
Freshwater crocodiles eat mostly fish,
insects, frogs and other small water creatures, but will occasionally
also catch birds, small mammals, other reptiles, and even other,
smaller, freshwater crocodiles.
Freshwater crocodiles are
preyed on by
other crocodiles, but their biggest killers are cane
that poison them
are eaten by
pythons, large fish, birds of prey, freshwater turtles and larger
crocodiles. Their eggs
mainly eaten by goannas, but also by feral pigs.
permanent water they can be active
all year around. But if the water in their area dries up,
in caverns dug
into creek banks.
Their breeding season is
(unlike the saltwater
crocodile's). Mating starts in the beginning of
the Dry, eggs are laid (in a burrow in the sand) in the end of the Dry,
and the young hatch in the beginning of the Wet Season.
The adult crocodiles
return to the nest, and about the hatching time they help
young out and carry
them into the water. They also stay around for a while to protect the
to 20 eggs are laid (but most often about 10-15). Like in the saltwater
crocodiles, the sex of
depends on the outside temperatures.
About the same amounts of both sexes are born at temperatures of 30˚C,
produce more males
temperatures produce more females.
Only one percent of
Danger to Humans
opposed to the saltie,
freshwater crocodile is generally not dangerous to humans since it does not target us as food.
However, it bites if
and its teeth are razor sharp.
It also has the habit to hold on and shake
whatever it bites, making the wounds even worse.
Its bites are known to get badly
infected and take
a long time
to Freshwater Crocodiles
biggest danger to
themselves is the
poisonous cane toad that kills them when they eat it. The second danger
is habitat destruction.
Like saltwater crocodiles, the freshies are protected and it is
illegal to kill
or keep them without a permit.
saltwater crocodile is huge and dangerous.
It is the
Saltwater, or Estuarine
porosus, and it is the world's largest crocodile.
Although the other one of Australia's two species of crocodiles,
the Freshwater CrocodileCrocodylus johnstoni
is also found in Cape York, the larger, saltwater one is the only one
to kill you.
It is a
massive animal that can weigh over a
Adults reach easily up to five
metres of length,
but the largest one ever shot in Australia was eight metres long.
is easy to distinguish from the
species by their size
and by their broad snout
- which reflects the large prey they eat.
They are opportunistic feeders and they often hunt near the water's
where they catch kangaroos,
feral pigs and other large prey.
animals as large as buffaloes and cattle - so they can
easily kill and
eat a human.
They have a good eyesight and good night vision, and they are often
active during the night time.
They also have a good sense of smell,
and a good feeling for
They don't need to see, hear or smell you - if you are
around, they know it from the vibration in the ground.
during the Wet Season (October - April). Female lays eggs in
a mound, often in the high grass close to riverbanks.
Once the eggs hatch, the female looks after the young for up to five
weeks. Despite that, very few survive and reach adulthood.
by floods, heat and goannas that eat them.
are so small they can be killed by turtles,
birds of prey and other crocodiles.
But once they are adult
they have nobody to fear except us and each
A salty on the
bank of Daintree River.
Australian saltwater crocodiles were hunted
until 1974 for their skin.
Even today, the skin
of farmed crocodiles is valuable, and croc meat is also eatable.
they are protected now
so it is illegal to shoot them.
destruction is now their worst threat, particularly with
more and more
people moving to northern Australia.
is important to respect that this is croc country.
We don't want to
lose them - they are a very important part of both
saltwater ecosystems, and being top predators they keep the habitats
clean and the ecosystems in balance.
also keep being an attraction
for tourists and travellers.
A salty on the bank of Endeavour
is found in northern Australia - in the oceans, along the
the river mouths and rivers, and even in freshwater lagoons and
They are found in all these habitats both on Cape York peninsula
have a summary of how to avoid a crocodile attack.
And it is an important
one, if you are
from the southern parts of Australia, and not used to
along those lines.
If you are from other
parts of the
world and not sure if our crocodiles are dangerous - our
an extremely efficient killer.
Every now and again it takes a kid, a drunken swimmer or a tourist, and while
need to be paranoid about it, you need to be, what we call, croc-wise.
ignore a crocodile
* Even if there is no sign, there may still be a crocodile. * Don't
go back to the same spot
every day - they will remember, and they will be watching
- until they get the perfect chance.
* If you fish, stand on a river bank
that is higher from the water.
Don't stand right next to the water, or on branches that hang over the
* Do not clean fish
rivers and never throw your fish scraps
in or near the water - it will attract them.
* Don't camp on low river
banks - camp well away
from the water.
Do not leave any food
your campsite. I have read stories
where crocs got out of the water during the night to get them. Scary
stuff if you are in the tent.
* If you are in the boat,keep
yourself and your arms inside the boat.
Don't dangle over the sides.
* Never harrass or feed or any other way interfere with wild
* A crocodile slide mark
means the croc may still be around.
* Be even more careful during their breeding season (December to April).
think that they are
not there because you
haven't seen one. They are very clever hiding under the
water surface, as they move closer to you and then attack.
The most dangerous crocs are the
that you cannot see.
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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