Saltwater crocodiles are burdened with some pretty hard core statistics. Equally fascinating and frightening, male salties can reach up to 5 metres and weigh up 450kg. That’s equivalent to the weight of a full blown deluxe model Grand Piano – the sort that you’re likely to see Elton John tinkering with. Co-incidentally, Grand Pianos have a similar life expectancy of a saltwater crocodile, around 75 to 100 years, though I think the piano is far more welcome in polite society than the salty.
Indeed salties tend to lurk where few humans dare enter. You’ll find them lurking in murky waters of creeks and rivers or deep within mangrove forests and coastal mudflats. They are excellent swimmers and have been spotted far offshore so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re not inhabiting coastal island shores. Apex opportunistic predators at the head of the food chain, their survival skills are impressive.
Saltwater crocodile facts
Here’s a few to think about next time you’re tempted ignore the warning signs and cool off in a coastal creek or river in Tropical North Queensland.
- Can remain underwater up to one hour, reducing their heart rate to around 3 beats per minute. Murky water is their best camouflage
- Have a transparent eyelid that enables them to see underwater. Eyes are close together and oriented forward enabling them to accurately judge distances.
- Use their powerful tail muscles to propel themselves on land, allowing them to outrun a human over short distances – consider them the Usain Bolt of the reptile world!
- Have excellent hearing to help hunt down prey in low light or poor visibility – don’t think because it’s dark and you can’t see them that they can’t see you!
- Have reserve teeth waiting to emerge and replace lost teeth – very handy considering they’ll sink their teeth into anything that looks and smells remotely like food.
One of the best (and safest!) ways to get up close and personal with the head of the food chain is to view them in a wildlife park or on a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide. That way you’ll get to witness their awesome power, agility and striking bodily features and snap some shots without fear of being snapped at. Or worse.
Let us know in the comment below if you’ve seen a saltwater crocodile or check out these local operators to get your crocodile fix!