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 68–72 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.
Colloquially, they're called "freshies."
Freshwater crocodiles 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lizards prey upon nests, and adult crocodiles, black kites, whistling kites, turtles, and large fish eat juveniles. Some aboriginal people hunt them for food.
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