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24 Oct 2018 11:16:12
Did you know saltwater crocodiles, or ‘salties’ as they are affectionately known by Australians, are the largest living reptile in the world? Despite their name, saltwater crocodiles can be found in freshwater, such as rivers, lakes, billabongs as well as open oceans across Northern Australia, up through South-East Asia and even as far North as India!
Read on to learn more fun facts about crocodiles…
Male saltwater crocodiles can reach up to 6.5 metres long and weigh up to 1.5 tonnes! Female saltwater crocodiles are much smaller, and rarely grow over 3 metres and weigh approximately 300 kilograms. However, when they hatch, baby crocodiles are only 30 centimetres and weigh only 70 grams. The change in size and weight from baby to adult is greater in saltwater crocodiles compared to any other land animal –the weight difference between a newly hatched to full-size male is over 10,000 times!
Although famous for being man-eaters, more people are killed by horses, than saltwater crocodiles on average per year. While male saltwater crocodiles can take on something the size of a human adult, they mostly consume any animal they can catch or scavenge for, such as insects, fish, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Saltwater crocodiles hunt by hiding their massive body underwater while watching their prey with only their eyes, nostrils and ears exposed on the surface of the water. A large crocodile resting underwater can easily hold their breath for long periods! Crocodiles have a low energy lifestyle and may go long periods without feeding!
Saltwater crocodiles communicate in many different ways, depending on if they are communicating with the opposite sex, with their young or babies, or even if they feel threatened. These means of communication range from slapping their head on the water to blowing bubbles and they even have a range of low frequency, subsonic sounds below the hearing range of humans.
Despite being territorial animals, crocodiles are surprisingly good parents and can be quite gentle with each other when courting, which is unusual for reptiles. Female crocodiles will look after their babies for around 3 months, by opening the nest, carrying them to the water, and even rolling un-hatched eggs to help them out.
Visit our mammoth saltwater crocodile, Rocky, at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo today!