SALTWATER CROCODILE

Crocodylus porosus

The Saltwater (or Estuarine) crocodile is the biggest species of crocodile & the largest living reptile in the world. Adult males are on average 4 to 5m long & weigh more than 450 kg; females are smaller, generally around 3m long and up to 150 kg. The upper body is grey, brown or almost black above, with irregular darker mottling & they are generally whitish on the underside.  An adult Saltwater crocodile generally has 65–67 teeth and is believed to have the greatest bite pressure of any living animal.

Distribution & Habitat

‘Salties’ are found in Australian coastal waters, estuaries, lakes, inland swamps & marshes. The species’ distribution ranges from Broome in WA through the Northern Territory to Townsville in Qld & occasionally further south. They can also live in freshwater.

Diet

Adults are known to prey on a variety of species, including mud crabs, birds, sea turtles, fish, flying foxes, dingoes, cats, dogs, pigs, buffalo, cattle & horses. When hunting, they lie in wait partially submerged or completely underwater – able to hold their breath for up to 10 -15 minutes by reducing their heart rate to just 2-3 beats per minute.

Life expectancy & Breeding

Saltwater crocodiles can live for 80 – 100 years.They mate & reproduce during the wet season from November to March.  A female can lay up to 50 eggs in nests along riverbanks, where they incubate for about three months before hatching.

Conservation status

VULNERABLE (QLD) | SPECIALLY PROTECTED WA (EPBC) 

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Billabong Zoo has a ‘monster’ saltwater crocodile – Shrek –  now approaching 5m in length and weighing over 500 kilograms. He is approximately 50 years old.

FEEDING & KEEPER TALK: Daily at 12:30pm