Austalian freshwater crocodile

Australian Freshwater Crocodile

Crocodylus johnstoni

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These crocs bask with their mouths open to prevent overheating.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

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Australian Freshwater Crocodile

Equally fast on land or water, these freshwater crocodiles may gallop at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour. Freshwater crocodiles have strong legs, clawed webbed feet and powerful tails.

Although generally not dangerous to humans, they can inflict serious injury with their sharp teeth.

These crocs are gray or olive-brown with darker mottling or bands on the upper body, tail and sometimes on the snout, with a lighter underside. They have smooth, narrow, tapering snouts and a mouth lined with 68 to 72 sharp teeth. The fourth tooth on either side of the bottom jaw protrudes outward and can be seen when the animal's mouth is closed.

In the dry season, females lay about 20 eggs in sandy hollows, which they protect until they are hatched. Hatchlings call from within the egg, before hatching. An adult female responds by excavating the nest, picking them up in her mouth and carrying them to the water.

Freshwater crocodiles (colloquially called "freshies") often bask with their mouths open to regulate their body temperature and prevent overheating. The soft tissue in the mouth is where the blood vessels are nearest the surface, so they have to open their mouths to cool their bodies.


Australian Freshwater Crocodile Facts

Diet

In the wild, juveniles feed on insects, crustaceans and small fish. Larger crocodiles extend their diet to include amphibians, bats, large fish and land mammals. Adult crocodiles are sometimes cannibalistic and may eat juveniles.

The Aquarium's crocodiles are fed fish, chicks and mice.

Size

The average size for this crocodile is 6 feet long with a weight of 32 pounds.

Maximum size attained is 9 feet long and a weight of 48 pounds.

Range

This species is restricted to the tropical regions of northern Australia (Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia), and is found mainly in freshwater lakes, rivers and wetlands.

Population Status

In the past, this species was at risk of extinction because crocs were hunted for their skins. This species, no longer at risk, has made a dramatic comeback due to conservation through protection and sustainable farming. Habitat destruction is now the major threat to these animals. Population estimates differ, but there are probably about 100,000 individuals in the wild.

Predators

Adult crocodiles, black kites, whistling kites, turtles and large fish eat juveniles, and lizards prey upon nests. Some aboriginal people hunt these crocs for food.

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John Seyjagat
Curator of Australian Exhibits

pressroom striped fish

As curator of the Australian exhibits, John's daily tasks include managing the exhibit staff and making sure all of our animals are healthy and happy! Learn More

A Note From the Caretaker

All of our crocodiles are named and conditioned to recognize their names as voice commands so that caretakers can enter their habitat to do regular daily maintenance. The largest and most dominant male’s name is Seven.

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Baltimore

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