Saltwater Croc

 

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Saltwater Crocodile

Range: Very large natural range including Australia, China, India  Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Vanuatu (Banks Islands), Vietnam.

Habitat: The most adaptable of all crocodilian species.  These crocodiles can be found in ocean sea water (often seen many hundreds of miles from the  mainland) fresh water ponds, lakes and even rivers.  Like many fish species the young actually spend the first few years of life in and around fresh water.  Sub-adults and adults can, and do move vast distances over dry land to search out coastal regions.  It is assumed that the fresh water habitat offers less threat from large predatory fish and sharks than does the open oceans

Size: The Saltwater crocodile is the largest crocodilian alive today.  Weighing in at over one ton (2,000 pounds) the giant Saltwater Crocodile is the heaviest of all living reptiles.  The title of longest still belongs to the snakes as 20 feet or greater is a truly massive crocodile.  The longest acceptable measurement for the Saltwater Crocodile is 23 feet.  Female crocodiles of all species are smaller than the male, the female Saltwater crocodile generally measures 20-25% smaller than the males. 

Status: Extremely large natural range has provided some degree of protection from over collection for skins.  An estimated 250,000 animals are thought to exist in various states of concentration throughout the extensive natural range.   Australia in particular boasts large, protected concentrations of crocs.

Rain Forest Facts: There is good news and bad news for this species of crocodilian, thanks to the protective Australian government populations in Australia are very stable and probably expanding back into regions where the Crocodiles numbers were reduced due to over collection for the skin trade.  The bad news is that other parts of this animalís massive natural range are not doing such a good job of protecting the species.  As a result it is probable that the saltwater crocodile will become expatriated from many regions.    

Crocodiles in general are opportunistic feeders; the Saltwater Crocodile is no different, highly aquatic specimens will feed primarily on fish, while fresh water individuals living near forested regions will eat more vertebrate from land. 

The saltwater croc has been seen holding it's breath for up to two hours to avoid being seen by potential predators.

The fear on behalf of some farmers that these crocodilians will decimate domestic animals such as cattle appears to be largely unfounded.  Stomach contents of even the largest of Crocodilians contain surprisingly small food items.  Unfounded fear of loss of livestock has reduced populations in the northern territories unnecessarily.    

Given the large nature of this crocodile, females produced correspondingly large clutches of eggs.  The average adult female will deposit up to 70 eggs per clutch, although the average appears to be closer to 40.   As is the case with virtually all reptile eggs, predatorsí account for a high mortality rate of the un-hatched eggs. Introduced species of animals including the pig have had devastating impacts on some nesting areas, mortality in the nest for this species of crocodile may be as high as 80%.  Natural predators of the eggs include the local species of monitor lizards (Varanus sp.) (called goannas in Australia) as well as native peoples of Australia and surrounding lands. 

A combination of ecotourism dollars coupled with revenue generated from farming this species for their hides has resulted in the government of Australia taking very proactive measures to ensure the future of this amazing creature