SALTWATER CROCODILES AND OTHER SPECIES OF CROCODILES IN ASIA

SPECIES OF CROCODILES IN ASIA


Siamese crocodile

The Siamese crocodile was thought to extinct in the wild in Southeast Asia. In 2000, scientists found some in the Cardamom mountains in Cambodia. Since then about 100 have been found. Large crocodiles have been observed preying on animals as large as a water buffalo, but mainly they subsist on frogs, turtles, crabs and fish. About 11,000 Siamese crocodiles are being raised in crocodile farms.

The Siamese crocodile is a freshwater crocodile native to Indonesia (Borneo and possibly Java), Brunei, East Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its is now gone on the wild in most of its original range of these countries. When you here about crocodiles in these country in all probability they are saltwater crocodiles. Since 1992 a number of surveys have confirmed the presence of a tiny population in Thailand (possibly numbering as few as two individuals, discounting recent reintroductions), a small population in Vietnam (possibly less than 100 individuals), and more sizable populations in Burma, Laos and Cambodia. In March 2005, conservationists found a nest containing juvenile Siamese crocodiles in the southern Lao province of Savannakhet. There are no recent records from Malaysia or Brunei. A significant population of the crocodiles is known to be living in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. [Source: Wikipedia]

The Siamese crocodile is a small, freshwater crocodilian, with a relatively broad, smooth snout and an elevated, bony crest behind each eye. Overall, it is an olive-green color, with some variation to dark-green. The largest female specimens can measure 3.2 meters (10 feet) and weigh 150 kilograms (330 pounds) Large male specimens can reach 4 meters (13 feet) and 350 kilograms (770 pounds) in weight. [Ibid]

The Philippine crocodile, also known as the Mindoro crocodile or the Philippine freshwater crocodile, is one of two species of crocodile that are found in the Philippines, the other is the larger saltwater crocodile. The only species endemic to the Philippines, it was declared to critically endangered in 2008 from exploitation and unsustainable fishing methods, such as dynamite fishing. There are roughly 250 left in the wild as of September 2011 according to an article by National Geographic. There are still surviving population in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, San Mariano, Isabela, Dalupiri island in the Babuyan Islands, and Abra (province) in Luzon and Ligawasan Marsh in Mindanao. It is strictly prohibited to kill a crocodile in the country, and it is punishable by law. [Ibid]

The Philippine crocodile has a relatively broad snout and thick bony plates on its back (heavy dorsal armor). This is a fairly small species, reaching breeding maturity at 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) and 15 kilograms (33 pounds) in both sexes and a maximum size of approximately 3.1 meters (10 feet). Females are slightly smaller than males. Philippine crocodiles are golden-brown in color, which darkens as it matures. [Ibid]

Mugger Crocodiles

The mugger crocodile, also called the Indian, Indus, Persian, or marsh crocodile, is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and the surrounding countries. It is one of the three crocodilians found in India, the others being the Gharial and the Saltwater crocodile. Its scientific name “Crocodylus palustris” literally "crocodile of the marsh." The name "mugger" is a corruption of the Urdu word magar which means "water monster". This is in turn derived from makara, the Sanskrit word for crocodile. [Source: Wikipedia]

Mugger crocodiles have 19 upper teeth on each side; a snout that is 11/3 to 1½ as long as broad at the base; a rough head but without any ridges. On average, females are 2.45 meters (8.0 feet) in length and males are 3.05 meters (10.0 feet). Weight in adults is variable, since a large male can be much more heavily built than a small adult female, and can range commonly from 40 to 200 kilograms (88 to 440 pounds). Old, mature males can get much larger, at up five meters (16 feet) and a weight of more than 450 kilograms (1000 lbs). Although individuals exceeding 4.3 meters (14 feet) are exceptionally rare, the largest Mugger on record measured a huge 5.2 meters (17 feet) in length. Mugger crocodiles can achieve speed of around 8 mph over a short distance in pursuit of prey. They can swim much faster 10 to 12 mph in short bursts,when cruising they go at about 1 to 2 mph. [Ibid]



The mugger crocodile can be found in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, the southern tip of Iran, and probably in Indo-China and at one point, even in Southern Iraq. The mugger is the only crocodilian found in Iran and Pakistan. This crocodile is the most common and widespread of the three species of crocodiles in India, far out numbering the much larger saltwater crocodile within the country (and most likely within neighboring countries).

In the 1980s, the largest population of wild crocodiles in Tamil Nadu, South India lived in the Amaravathi Reservoir, and the rivers that drain into it. Their total population here was estimated to be 60 adults and 37 sub-adults. The Amaravati Sagar Crocodile Farm, Established there in 1975, is the largest crocodile nursery in India. Eggs are collected from wild nests along the perimeter of the reservoir to be hatched and reared at the farm. There were up to 430 animals maintained in captivity at one time. Hundreds of adult crocodiles have been reintroduced from here into the wild. The estimated population in Pakistan is between 400 to 450 animals found in the coastal areas and rivers of Sindh and Baluchistan. Around 200 mugger crocodiles are found on the Iranian Makran coast, above Chabahar. They nearly became extinct due to human activities and a a long drought of the late 1990s and early 2000s. They have staged a comeback following several tropical cyclones such as the Cyclone Gonu and Cyclone Yamyin in 2007 and Cyclone Phet in 2010 that restored much of the habitat by flooding dry lakes.

Mainly a freshwater species, the mugger crocodile is found in lakes, rivers and marshes. Muggers prefer slow-moving, shallower bodies of water rather than, fast-flowing, deep areas. They also thrive in man-made reservoirs and irrigation canals. Although it prefers freshwater, it has some tolerance to saltwater therefore is occasionally reported from saltwater lagoons and has adapted to terrestrial life like its cousin, the Cuban crocodile but is ecologically most similar to the African Nile crocodile. It is known to be more mobile on land, can migrate considerable distances over land in search of a more suitable habitat. It can chase prey on land for short distances. They are also known to dig burrows as shelters during the dry seasons.

The mugger crocodile eats fish, other reptiles and small mammals, such as monkeys. Any animals that approach to drink in waters where its found is potential prey, and may suffer being seized and dragged into the water to be drowned and eaten. Large adults will sometimes prey on large mammals such as deer, including the 225-kilogram sambar deer, and the 450-kilogram domestic water buffalo. At night they sometimes hunt on land, lying in ambush near forest trails. This species is generally considered to be occasionally dangerous to humans, but nowhere near as notorious as the much larger (and, in India, less common) saltwater crocodile.

Chinese Alligator

20080318-Chinese alligator adult chinese alligator fund2.gif
Mother and young
Chinese alligators are extremely rare. They average six or seven feet in length, about half their American counterparts. They are known in China as "tu long," or earth dragon, and may have inspired the dragon myth. They were once found throughout the lakes and rivers in the lower Yangtze basin but now are only found in small area in Zhejiang Province about a hundred miles west of Shanghai. [Source: Carol Kaesuk Yoon, New York Times, August 21, 2001]

Chinese alligators is a compact and relatively benign carnivor. It lives in a colder climate than other crocodilians and are the only crocodilians that hibernate. They usually hibernate in the winter in complex networks of burrows on the banks of their ponds.

Chinese alligators are regarded as relatively mild mannered and non-threatening. They prefer living in lowland wetlands but because of development have so few places these days to live they have begun moving to forests and the slopes of hills, which are not suitable for burrowing. Adults can survive in these places buts eggs and young alligators often die if the weather gets too cold.

Endangered Chinese Alligators

20080318-alligator tooter for kids.jpg The Chinese alligator is the most endangered crocodilian in the world and may become the first crocodilian species to become extinct in the wild in historical times. In the old days there were hundreds of thousands of them, perhaps millions. Today only around 100 or 200 are left in the wild.

In 2001 researchers attempted to make an accurate count of the alligators by going around at night and looking for the reflective eyes of alligators with flashlights. They counted only 23. The last survivors live among villagers in rice paddies and ponds. One of the largest groups, with 11 members, lives in a pond near a video store.

Much of the alligators original habitat has been lost to rice cultivation and fish farming. Thirteen reserves have been set up for them but on these reserves you are more likely to find farmers, ducks and water buffalo than alligators. The farmers who live near the alligators are not thrilled about their presence and have little interest in protecting them. The alligators often eat their ducks and fish.

Natalie Angier wrote in the New York Times, “The alligators once abounded by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, through the lower Yangtze River basin in southeastern China. But over 5,000 years of rice cultivation, much of their terrain has been destroyed. [Source: Natalie Angier, New York Times, October 26, 2004]

Captive Chinese Alligators

20080318-Chinese alligator adult chinese alligator fund 3.gif
New alligator home
Chinese alligator do quite well in captivity. More than 10,000 of them live at the Anhui Research Center for Chinese Alligator Reproduction near Xuancheng, China. Between 500 and 2,000 alligators are born there every year using artificial insemination. Many of these alligators are harvested for the meat, which is believed to make people live long and bring other health benefits. Alligator and meat is particularly popular in southern China.

Captive-bred alligators have been reintroduced do the wild in a couple of carefully selected sites. Three young adults were released into a dammed up area, where a well-established population of three to five alligators lives. The newcomers made themselves at home with relative ease, within months a female newcomer had reproduced. It was not clear whether the father was a newcomer or an established alligator. One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is getting farmers to accept having alligators in their neighborhood. Scientists are trying get them to take pride in having the source of the dragon symbol in their backyard.

Gharials

Gharials are one the rarest and most unusual looking crocodiles and the most aquatic. They are four to seven meters (13 to 23 feet) in length and spend most of their time in water. Compared to other crocodiles, its legs are relatively weak and its feet are broadly webbed. This because these reptiles spend their time chasing after fish rather than lunging for prey at the shore. There are a few hundred and possibly a few thousand of them in India and Nepal. Before they used to also be also found in Arabia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, and Pakistan.


Gharails, or gavial, have large eyes and over 100 teeth, and sometimes reach lengths of 20 feet. Their long slender snout, which is designed for catching fish, makes them looks like a scaly pole with teeth. Although the snout is so slender it looks as if it might be easy to break it is in fact quite strong and is filled with extremely sharp fish. Gharials catch fish sideways and then flick them into the air and catch them fish headfirst so the crocodile can swallow the fish so the gills don’t snag in their gullet. Gharials eat only fish and require a specialized habitat of swiftly flowing rivers with sandy banks.

Males have a strange stiff hollow knob on their snouts used in both visual and acoustic mating displays. The nostrils are closed with penislike erectile tissue that, when the animal is aroused, seals off the airways. During the breeding season dominant male gharial become strongly territorial and assemble a harem of females. Feamles create a nest far away from the water edge and lat 50 eggs which at 150 grams each are unusually large for crocodiles. The females protects her young but does not carry them to the water, perhaps because of the shape of their nouths.

Gharails inhabit slow-moving backwaters of large rivers; leaving the water only to bask on a sand or mud bank or to lay eggs. When threatened they submerge themselves in deep water. Mating takes place in the water. Their legs are so poorly developed they have a hard time moving on land. Instead of properly walking they push themselves forward like a paddling surfboarder.

Endangered Gharials


Gharails are seriously endangered. They once ranged from Pakistan to Myanmar. Most gharials are the victims of dam building, net fishing and hunting for hides, trophies and protection. In the 19th century it is said a maharajah once shot 100 gharials on a royal hunt. The reptile suffered serious population declines in the mid-20th century. In the 1970s it was estimated there were only 100 gharails in the wild, 60 in India and 40 in Nepal, the only two countries where they are found.

Biologist have had success raising gharial eggs and their increasing numbers are attributed to this. Nine hatcheries were created. Young gharails are raised in carefully monitored ponds for four years before they are released into rivers. Conservationist use long sticks to beat of the mothers to get at the eggs. With the creation of hatcheries the number of gharails has increased from 250 in 1974 to 3,000 in 1992. Fisherman are concerned the gharails will eat their catch and funding for the hatcheries was called a success after government officials called the program a success.

Mel White wrote in National Geographic, “Recovery in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to decreased poaching and establishment of protected areas, gave conservationists reason to believe it was out of trouble. But recent surveys have shown that gharial numbers have once again crashed, this time to critically endangered status. Factors in their decrease include persecution by fishermen (who see them as competitors), drowning in fishing nets, and destruction of their habitat by sand mining and other human activities. In addition, a significant gharial population on India's Chambal River was decimated between December 2007 and February 2008 by what some biologists believe was pollution. The wild population of gharials has shrunk to a few hundred individuals living only in India and Nepal.[Source: Mel White, National Geographic , November 2009]

False Gharial

The false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii), also known as the Malayan gharial, or false gavial is a freshwater crocodile native to the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. It has a very thin and elongated snout like a gharial. From a morphological standpoint, it has been originally placed within the family Crocodylidae, but recent immunological studies suggest that it is more closely related to the gharial than was originally thought. The false gharial is listed as an endangered species by IUCN as the population is estimated at below 2,500 mature individuals. [Source: Wikipedia]

The false gharial is a bit smaller than the gharial. Three mature males kept in captivity measured 3.6 to 3.9 meters (12 to 13 feet) and weighed 190 to 210 kilograms (420 to 460 pounds), while a female measured 3.27 meters (10.7 feet) and weighed 93 kilograms (210 pounds). There have been reports of males reaching a size of five meters. The most notable feature of the species is its extremely long and slender snout, which is slimmer than the snout of the slender-snouted crocodile and comparable to the snout of the gharial. [Ibid]


false gharial


False gharials are native to Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, Sumatra and Borneo, but have disappeared from Thailand. In the 1990s, information and sightings were available from 39 localities in 10 different river drainages, along with the remote river systems of Borneo. Apart from rivers, they inhabit swamps and lakes. Prior to the 1950s, Tomistoma occurred in freshwater ecosystems along the entire length of Sumatra east of the Barisan Mountains. The current distribution in eastern Sumatra has been reduced by 30-40 percent due to hunting, logging, fires and agriculture. [Ibid]

Until recently it was thought the false had a diet similar to true gharial, i.e. only fish and very small vertebrates, but new evidence and occurrences have proven that the false gharial's broader snout has enabled larger individuals to prey on larger vertebrates including Proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, deer and fruit bats. In 2008, a female measuring more than four meters long swallowed a fisherman in central Kalimantan. His remains were found in the gharial's stomach. [Ibid]

Tomistoma are mound-nesters. Females lay small clutches of 13 to 35 eggs per nest, and appear to produce the largest eggs of all crocodilians. Sexual maturity in females appears to be attained at around 2.5 to 3 meter (8.2 to 9.8 feet), which is large compared to other crocodilians. It is not known when they breed in the wild or when the nesting season is. Once the eggs are laid, and construction of the mound is completed, the female abandons her nest. Unlike most other crocodilian species, the young receive no parental care and are at risk of being eaten by predators like mongooses, tigers. leopards, civets, and wild dogs. The young hatch after 90 days and are left to fend for themselves. [Ibid]

The false gharial is threatened with extinction throughout most of its range due to the drainage of its freshwater swamplands and clearance of surrounding rainforests. The species is also hunted frequently for its skin and meat, and the eggs are often harvested for human consumption. Steps have been taken by the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to prevent its extinction in the wild. [Ibid]



Saltwater Crocodiles

The salt water crocodile is the world’s largest reptile and arguably the most dangerous of all 23 species of crocodilians. It usually grows to five or six meters in length and can live up to 100 years. According to Mike Osborn, a real-life Crocodile Dundee and outback guide, they "can weigh as much as a four-wheel drive truck... Once they get past fourteen feet they suddenly broaden out, double in size...You wouldn't believe how massive they are. Once they've got you in their death roll. You're finished." [Source: David Doubilet, National Geographic, June 1996]

A large saltwater crocodile says National Geographic writer Rick Gore, "is cunning enough to stalk a human, strong enough to bring down and dismember a water buffalo, yet gentle enough to crack open its own eggs to release its young. Saltwater crocodiles have been seen on the east coast of India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, the Philippines, and the island nation of Palau (600 miles east of the Philippines).

The salt water crocodile is also known as the esturine crocodile or Indo-Pacific saltwater crocodile. Even though "salties" have been spotted a 150 miles offshore in the open ocean, they prefer estuaries, which is whay they are often called esturine crocodiles. In Australia, they swim up rivers when water is warm and often go so far inland that the water becomes completely fresh. During floods, salties sometimes swim many miles inland.

Saltwater crocodiles are grey, brown or black in color with irregular molting and large plate-like scales. It has a broad snout pitted with deep pours and two keels on its tail. They feed on fish, birds and mammals and mate in the water during the wet season. Females begin nesting after the first heavy rains and lay about 50 eggs in mound nests on the river bank. They guard their clutch and stay with their hatchlings for the first few weeks. "That's the most dangerous time," one crocodile farm owner told National Geographic.

The saltwater crocodile has strong enough legs so that it can lift its body off the ground and walk. As tourists in Australia have seen they are able to leap far out of the water to snag a chicken suspended on a pole. When saltwater crocodiles bask in the sun they often do so with their mouth open. Doing this keeps them from overheating and allows small birds to extract parasites and bits of food stuck between their teeth,



Large Saltwater Crocodiles

An average male saltie is 15 feet in length and tip the scales at 1000 pounds. They can get as wide a man with his arms fully extended, stand as high as a table and leave behind footprints as large as diving fins. The largest crocodile presently in captivity is an 18-foot, 1,600-pound beast named Cassius kept at Marineland Melanesia. His owner figures he is 90 years old. Females are usually about half the size of males. George J Craig, Cassius' owner, told National Geographic, "They don't change much in captivity. I've put a female in with him and that keeps him happy. If there was another male in there, he'd kill it."

Fisherman off of Queensland once reportedly hauled in a 33-foot-long saltwater crocodile. A 28-foot specimen weighing 4,400 pounds was purportedly found in the Norman River Australia in 1957. Published press reports have also cited a 6.2m adult male killed on the Fly River in Papua New Guinea in 1982 that was measured after it was skinned.

World’s Biggest Crocodile

In July 2012, a huge crocodile known as Lolong was officially named the largest crocodile in captivity, by the Guinness World Records. Lolong measures 20.24 feet (6.17 meters) and weighs more than a ton, The Guinness website said: “Lolong’s weight was also measured at a nearby truck weigh-bridge and verified as approximately 1,075 kilograms. The reptile took the top spot from an Australian crocodile that measured more than 17 feet (5 meters) and weighed nearly a ton. The Guinness listing is based on data by experts including crocodile zoologist Adam Britton, who measured the beast in his home, the new Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Centre in the Philippines.

AP reported: “The news sparked celebrations in Bunawan, a farming town of 37,000 in Agusan del Sur province on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, but Mayor Edwin Cox Elorde said it also fostered concerns that more giant crocodiles might lurk in a marshland and creek where villagers fish."There were mixed feelings," Elorde said by telephone. "We're really proud because it proves the rich biodiversity of our place but at the same time, there are fears that Lolong may not be alone." Lolong has become the star attraction of a new ecotourism park and research center in the outskirts of Bunawan and has drawn thousands of tourists since news of its capture spread. Elorde said his town has earned 3 million pesos ($72,000) from the modest entrance fees at the park, with most of the money being used to feed and care for the crocodile and maintain the park. [Source: Jim Gomez, AP, July 1, 2012]

National Geographic News reported: “Initially wary of claims of record-breaking size, Britton blogged his congratulations to Lolong "for amazing the skeptic in me." "I didn't expect to ever see a crocodile greater than 20 feet long in my lifetime, not an experience I will forget easily," wrote Britton, senior partner of the Australia-based crocodilian research and consulting group Big Gecko. The previous captive record-holder was a 17.97-foot-long (5.48-meter-long) Australian-caught saltwater crocodile.[Source: National Geographic News, July 2, 2012]

What's more, Britton noted, the 2,370-pound (1,075-kilogram) Lolong may have a sizable impact on crocodile conservation in the Philippines. For instance, the Philippine Senate recently introduced a resolution to strengthen laws protecting the saltwater crocodile and the Philippine crocodile, a species deemed critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As Britton wrote on his blog, "this is excellent progress."

Catching and Caring for the World’s Biggest Crocodile


Pangil Crocodile Park Davao City

AP reported: “The crocodile was captured with steel cable traps in the Agusan marsh in Mindanao during a three-week hunt after a two-year girl was killed in 2009 and a fisherman went missing. Water buffalos have also been attacked by crocodiles in the area. About 100 people led by Elorde pulled the crocodile from a creek using a rope and then hoisted it by crane onto a truck. It was named after a government environmental officer who died from a heart attack after traveling to Bunawan to help capture the beast, Elorde said. Elorde said he saw a bigger crocodile escape when Lolong was captured and villagers remain wary of fishing there at night. He said he has formed a team of hunters and is seeking government permission to hunt that crocodile. [Source: Jim Gomez, AP, July 1, 2012]

In September 2011 after Lolong was caught AFP reported: The 6.4m. 1075kg reptile may have eaten a farmer who went missing in July, along with several water buffaloes in the southern town of Bunawan, crocodile hunter Rollie Sumiller said. A crocodile also bit off the head of a 12-year-old girl in Bunawan in 2009, according to the environment ministry.

Sumiller said he thought the male crocodile was more than 50 years old."This is the biggest animal that I've handled in 20 years of trapping," he said. "The community was relieved," Sumiller said, but added: "We're not really sure if this is the man-eater, because there have been other sightings of other crocodiles in the area."

The team, employed by a government-run crocodile breeding farm, began laying bait using chicken, pork and dog meat on August 15. But the reptile, which measured 91cm across its back, simply bit off both the meat and the line it was skewered on. An eight millimetre metal cable finally proved beyond the power of its jaws, and the beast was subdued in a relatively fast 15 minutes at a creek late on Saturday with the help of about 30 local men.

After it was placed in captivity AFP reported: “A first, Lolong was fed the equivalent of 10 percent of his body weight in beef, pork and poultry every month, but an expert put him on a diet of eight to 10 kilograms a week to get him to be more active.”

While not considered an endangered species globally, it is "critically endangered" in the Philippines, where it is hunted for its hide which is used in the fashion industry, de Leon said. "There have been very few sightings of porosus in the wild in the Philippines in recent years," she added. In July, a smaller saltwater crocodile, measuring almost 4.2m was caught on the western Philippine island of Palawan after it killed a man.

Saltwater Crocodile Attacks

If you see a saltwater crocodile the Australian Tourist authority recommends you observe it from a distance, don't feed it and never stand between it and the water. If approached by a hostile crocodile Aussies recommend that you pull out a gun and shot it in the nose. Bullets apparently won't pierce the animals thick hide. If you don't have a gun you are supposed to shout at it.∝

A pamphlet given out by the Queensland park service warns tourists to "avoid murky water...Don't trail arms and legs from boats...And be careful during breeding season, October through April." Crocodiles have been known to charge boats. Ones floating high in water with their backs arched are very likely to be aggressive.∝

Australians say that crocodiles usually don't attack a group of five or six people swimming. They usually go after children or women doing their landry. Swimming in rough water is regarded by some as safe. Crocs, and sharks too, are supposed to shy away from white caps.∝

"You will never see the croc that eats you," a man from Cookstown told writer Paul Theroux. "You'll never know what hit you. You see nothing...They have this incredible capacity for sudden movement.∝

"You don't want to be tucker for a croc mate," Osborn told journalist Harvey Arden, " They'll stick you under a submerged log and let you rot. That's because they can't chew too well. When you've ripened enough, they'll tear a chunk off. Strange how some people think we are top of the food chain. More bloody nonsense. Crocs are."☼

Rob Bredle, owner of Airlie Beach Wildlife Park in Queensland, makes a splash with a stick to let a 13-foot, 700-pound male know its meal time and then feeds the best by hand. George J Craig, the owner of another crocodile park told National Geographic, "His eyes will let you know what's going on," Craig said. "After I drop his food, they'll still follow me. Even after all these years, if I made a mistake, I've had it."

Formally Endangered Saltwater Crocodiles in Australia

Some scientists estimate there were once millions of salties.. Before large scale hunting began in the 1940s, it was estimated there were more than 150,000 crocodile in the waters for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. By the mid-1960s, they had been nearly hunted to extinction. In the 1970s it was estimated there were perhaps only 5,000 left. Bredle told National Geographic, "In the 1970s I went up 13 rivers in Queensland and saw only 64 crocodiles.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland passed legislation banning the hunting of crocodiles. Salties have made a spectacular come back, with their population increasing from about 7,500 animals in the early 1970s o 100,000 in the med-1990s.

Their comeback has been especially remarkable in the Northern Territory, where there are now about 65,000 crocodile---so many of them that the represent a threat to livestock and humans. Most of the victims are horses and cattle that wander too close to crocodile-infested water.

Their status has been upgraded from rare to common. Problem crocodiles are removed from populated areas and usually given to crocodile farms. Between 100 and 200 crocodiles are removed annually from Darwin harbor alone.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: National Geographic, Natural History magazine, Smithsonian magazine, Wikipedia, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, The Guardian, Top Secret Animal Attack Files website, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, The Economist, BBC, and various books and other publications.

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© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated November 2012

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