Salt Water Crocodile
Estuarine Crocodile, Marine Crocodile and Saltie
Adult males are around 5 to 7 metres in length. Weight from 1,000 to 1,200 kg. Females are much smaller and often do not surpass 3 metres in length. The powerful jaw is filled with 64-68 teeth. The head is very large and a pair of ridges run from the eyes along the centre of the snout. The scales are oval in shape and the scutes are small compared to other species. Young saltwater crocodiles are pale yellow in colour with black stripes and spots on the body and tail. This coloration lasts for several years until the crocodile matures into an adult. The colour as an adult is much darker, with lighter tan or gray areas. The ventral surface is white or yellow in colour. Stripes are present on the lower sides of the body but do not extend onto the belly. The tail is gray with dark bands.
The Saltwater Crocodile is the largest crocodile in the world - in fact, the largest living reptile - reaching up to 9 metres in length. Average size is about 6 metres. It is commonly found in northern Australia, across the top of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. In recent years the species has moved further south and inland. It can be found in the sea but usually lives in estuaries and also freshwater swamps, coastal floodplains, inland billabongs and rivers. It can also be found on the east coast of India and south-west Asia. The Saltwater Crocodile is a fearsome, extremely strong predator moving stealthily and then attacking with high speed. It can lay waiting under the water for up to an hour without the need to breath and then erupts out of the water to catch unsuspecting prey which is any animal that enters its territory. Prey is either drowned (if large) or swallowed whole (if small). The crocodile breeds in the wet season, laying between 30 and 70 eggs, usually at night, in a mounded nest which is built by the female out of plants, mud and soil. The female will defend the nest for around 3 months or until the eggs hatch. She will help hatchlings by excavating the soil and gently rolling the eggs. She moves the fully formed crocodile hatchlings in her mouth to the waters edge and will nurse the baby crocodiles for several months.