Name: the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) – also known as the estuarine, Indo-Pacific, marine, or sea crocodile – is the largest species of crocodile in the world.
Appearance: saltwater crocodiles have wider snouts and broader bodies than most other crocodile species. Young crocs are a pale yellow colour with black stripes and spots on their bodies and tails. When they grow older they turn a darker green to black colour.
Size: adult males can grow up to 6 metres long and weigh over a tonne. Females are much smaller and typically reach around 3 metres in length. The largest saltwater crocodile on record was estimated to reach 6.3 metres long. The maximum possible size is estimated to be up to 7 metres with a weight of over 2 tonnes. However, due to extensive poaching in the 20th century, such large individuals are extremely rare today.
Diet: saltwater crocodiles are large and opportunistic predators. They ambush their prey and then drown it or swallow it whole. They have the strongest bite of any living animal and are capable of killing and eating almost anything that enters their territory – from birds, fish, and monkeys, to sharks, tigers, and humans.
Did you know: saltwater crocodiles get their name from their tendency to be found in marine environments. While other crocodile species have salt glands that enable them to survive in saltwater, salties are the only species which spend considerable amounts of time at sea. They use ocean currents to travel long distances. In Australia, a crocodile tagged with a satellite transmitter travelled over 590 km along the coast in 25 days. They can spend weeks at sea in search of land and, in some cases, barnacles have even been found growing on their scales!
Location: they inhabit mangrove swamps and river deltas from India’s east coast, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, throughout South East Asia and the South Pacific, and up to Australia’s north coast.
Where TO SEE saltwater crocodiles
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see saltwater crocodiles in the following places:
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Photo credit: sarangib under a Creative Commons Licence from Pixabay