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Wildlife in Australia » Blogs » Crocodiles

  • Crocodiles

    Posted by EDrury46 March 26, 2013 - 355 views - 1 comment - 1 like - #australia    #crocodiles  #Wildlife  #Northern Territories  #Australia Zoo 

    Crocodiles. They are creatures both admired and feared around the world, and Australia is home to both the Saltwater crocodile (the Estuarine) and the Freshwater (Johnson's) crocodile. They are each found in the type of water their name indicates and both are found in the northern parts of Australia. The Saltwater crocodile can grow to between 4-7 metres long compared to its smaller relative, the Freshwater, which only grows up to 3 metres in length.

     

     

    Crocodiles might be famous from films such as Crocodile Dundee for attacking and even killing humans, but as statistics show, on average only one person a year is killed by a crocodile in Australia, and that is often due to a failure to fully regard safety procedures. Nature reserves all over Australia, including Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, care for crocodiles and educate tourists and Australians about the crocodiles' habitats, lifestyles and hunting techniques. Crocodiles were for many years hunted, often for sport, which seriously harmed their numbers, but under protection programmes their numbers have grown and there are now crocodile farms which provide the commercial markets with crocodile-skin handbags and shoes and the like, without damaging the numbers of the crocodile population.

     

    Crocodile farms are often open to the public, as are wildlife reserves, and at many of these it is possible for people to hold young crocodiles, which is an excellent way of engaging people, especially children with the animals and in helping to educate them about their adaptations to survive. These experiences, farms and reserves are also good, safe ways of introducing people to these powerful animals up close, without the risk of injury to either human or crocodile.

     

    The Saltwater crocodile is the more extrovert and dangerous of the two species, and advice upon seeing them in the wild is as follows:

    1. Make sure you're aware of whether or not you are in crocodile territory, particularly if camping.
    2. If  fishing, don't return to the same spot everyday (just the same as with other wild animals - once they find a constant source of food from your barbeques etc. they'll keep returning!)
    3. Check with local sources that it is safe to swim, use small boats/canoes in the area you're planning on swimming in.
    4. Dispose of waste away from the campsite or fishing grounds.
    5. Don't stand too close to the water's edge/dangle arms or legs overboard of a boat etc.
    6. Don't feed crocodiles.
    7. If seen, do not approach, as they are highly territorial, and any attempted attacks on other animals or humans might not be predatory, but more in defence of their 'home', again, just as many other wild animals do.

    Most of this advice is common sense, and not too hard to follow. Many are things which people would tend to do anyway, regardless of where in the world they were or what they were doing.

     

    Crocodiles are incredibly powerful, and quite entrancing, and visiting zoos, parks and farms to see them is not a bad thing, because they really are incredibly interesting. Like most wild animals, they are only ever really dangerous when approached in the wild, a response which I think it's fair to say, is not all that dissimilar from what anyone might do if someone tried sneaking into their territory!

     

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