The Saltwater Crocodile in Australia

"Snap Snap! Run if you see one!"

The saltwater crocodile is one of the most ferocious animals in Australia. They are extremely territorial so disturbing one is really not a good idea!

They are also very large making them a totally formidable with a jaw full of teeth that commands a huge amount of respect, even from the likes of Steve Irwin the famous crocodile hunter.

These are the largest of all living reptiles and can grow as long as 5 metres (17ft!). They can weigh up to 1,500kg. The largest recorded saltwater crocodile was 6.1 metres long.

Saltwater Crocodile Facts

Saltwater crocodiles are most likely found in the top end around Darwin. They can however be seen down to Broome or down to in Queensland. It is estimated that there are between 100,000 and 200,000 adult saltwater crocodiles in Australia.

Their name is a little mis-leading as they don’t actually live in salt water. They tend to spend most of their time in freshwater rivers and streams especially in the wet season. During the dry season they may head to the ocean but not always.

They can swim 15-18 miles per hour if they want to but normally they prefer to cruise around at 2 or 3 miles per hour.

The larger they get, the more they eat and the larger the animal they can take on. They can eat kangaroos, water buffalo, sharks and of course the odd human.

Best bet is not to go swimming in any rivers around these areas. If you see a sign warning you of crocodiles then don’t even think about going for a dip.

Crocodile Attacks And How To Avoid Them

It is estimated that there are at most just one or two fatal crocodile attacks per year in Australia. The government have done an excellent job of warning people of crocodile hot spots so attacks continue to get fewer and fewer.

The best way of avoiding an attack is to use some common sense and take some precautions:

Don’t swim if you see a crocodile warning sign.

If you go off the beaten track then be extra safe. Signs may not have been put up in this area.

If you are in a river on a boat, don’t hang your arms or legs over the side

If you are camping, don’t camp near the waters edge

Don’t throw food scraps into the water.

Try not to have a set routine of washing or eating every day near the water. You may find an unexpected visitor one day.

Be extra vigilant during the saltwater crocodile breeding season. They are particularly aggressive between September and May.

What To Do If You See A Crocodile Approaching

Firstly thank your lucky stars that you saw it! Crocodiles pride themselves on surprising their prey and sneaking up on them.

If you are not in the water you have a very good chance of being able to out run a crocodile. The idea of running in a zig zag to outwit a croc is a myth. You should run as fast as you can in a straight line to get as far away from it as possible.

Providing you are reasonably fit, you should be able to out run it.

If you are unfortunate enough to be in the water, swim as fast as you can and get out of there!

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