Some people believe that crocodiles are living dinosaurs. Crocodiles are the largest reptiles known to man. There are two types of crocodile in Australia. One of these species is the Estuarine Crocodile, otherwise known as the Australian Saltwater Crocodile, one of the largest species in the Crocodilian family. For thousands of years no other animal threatened crocodiles. The other species, the Freshwater crocodile, lives in fresh or slightly salty water. They are found from the Kimberleys in Western Australia across the top of northern Australia and down most of the Queensland coast. For thousands of years no other animal threatened, they ruled the wetlands and rivers of the world, but when guns were invented, humans had the ability to hunt and kill crocodiles in great numbers. This resulted in the near extinction of the crocodile.
Freshwater crocodiles live in fresh or slightly salty water; they have a narrow snout and jaws and are smaller than estuarine crocodiles. They will not attack people unless they are cornered or wounded. Estuarine crocodiles are much larger and more dangerous, prefer saltwater habitats, but may be found in fresh water. Their snout is broad, bumpy and short.
Estuarine crocodiles may live to 10
These nests are found on a riverbank close to the water. Their main food sources are crabs, turtles, fish, flying fox, feral pigs, birds and dogs. However, loss of life has led to a degree of antipathy towards them, making conservation measures more difficult to implement. Australia has been the centre for most of the extensive research carried out on this species, and for several model breeding and conservation programs. The only accurate way to age a crocodile is to take a cross section of bone and count the growth rings, like a tree. Estuarine crocodiles build their nests during the wet season between October and May. Estuarine crocodiles prefer a body temperature of 30-32 C - and that"tms not cold. Juvenile crocodiles eat small crustaceans, insects and small fish. This involves collection of the eggs from wild nests, with payment for the eggs being given to the landowners. The crocodile breaks the plants with its teeth and uses its hind legs to scrape the plants into the mound shape. It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 crocodiles in the northern three states of Australia, so the problem has now shifted to one of persuading landowners and public alike of the value of the species, which is otherwise only seen as destructive. When the nest temperature is 30 C or less, the young will all be female, if 31 C the young will be both male and female, if 32 C or more the young will all be male. They have eyes in the front of their heads, like humans do. The female estuarine crocodile lay up to 60 eggs, which take about three months to hatch.