Crocodylus porosus

Description

The Saltwater Crocodile adults typically have a heavy build and range in colour from golden tan to grey to black, with irregular darker mottling. Juveniles are brightly patterned with dark spots/bands on the body and tail; these tend to fade with age. Belly is cream-coloured.

Distribution

Within Australia the Saltwater Crocodile is found from around Gladstone in Queensland along the eastern coast to Cape York Peninsula and across the northern regions of the Northern Territory to around Broome in northern Western Australia. The Saltwater Crocodile is also found in Indonesia and south-east Asia through to Shri Lanka.

Lifespan

Like all Crocodiles the Saltwater Crocodile has a lifespan of 80 to 100 years.

Size

Female Saltwater Crocodiles attain lengths of 3 - 3.5 metres while males grow on average to 4 - 5 metres in Australia which is at the southernmost part of their distribution. That said the largest recorded Saltwater Crocodile measured 8.36 metres.

Diet

The diet of the Saltwater Crocodile consists of water birds, sea turtles and mammals up to the size of a water buffalo. They are also known to be cannibalistic.

Habitat

The Saltwater Crocodile is found in northern coastal areas and estuaries, from Broome in northwestern Western Australia to the Gladstone area in southeastern Queensland. They also occur on a number of islands off the Northern Territory and Queensland coastline.

Breeding

Once the mound is constructed the female digs an egg chamber and lays up to 71 hard-shelled eggs (average of around 50).

The mother guards the nest, even preventing it from drying out if necessary by splashing it with water. The eggs take 90 days to develop. Interestingly the sex of the young Australian Saltwater Crocodiles is determined by the incubation temperature.

Below 30 degrees celsius the hatchlings will be female, and above 32 degrees celcious they will be male.

Bite

The Estuarine Crocodile slams their jaw shut the strongest out of any animal in the world at around 3,700 pounds per square inch!