Welcome to another in the series of Australia’s Bad Things. This category was mainly about intruders and trespassers on my land and in my house. But, as I seem to have covered them all for now, I am now looking at some bad things that live in the sea and in creeks and billabongs.
Today I look at the Australian Salt Crocodile, but in fairness to old salty, even if he didn’t live in water, he’s not the trespassing kind. He just gets very angry when someone or something trespasses’ on his territory! He is a very territorial creatures and just going close to the part of the river where he lives would be equivalent to how we would feel if somebody broke into our house.
It’s amazing that I had scheduled to write about crocodiles today and the first news item I saw when I opened up my browser this morning was…..
Public put on ‘croc watch’
Apparently we are now entering the mating season for crocodiles and that means they are out and about looking for a nest.
Senior Mackay ranger Kate Delaney says “The name the salty has been quite misleading for people.”
“We have two kinds of crocs in Australia, one’s found nowhere else in the world, that’s the freshwater crocodile.”
“Then we have the estuarine crocodile which is commonly called the salty, but the estuarine crocodile can live 100 kilometres out to sea as it can 100 kilometres inland.”
Ms Delaney says crocodiles can be found in any coastal area north of Gladstone.
Death by crocodile explained.
Crocodiles are excellent predators. They will:
- Hide under the water.
- Silently watch and observe you.
- Hold their breath for up to three hours if they need to.
- Leap out of the creek/river/billabong by about the length of their own body.
- Grab you in their one tonne per square inch powerful jaws.
- Drag you back under water to drown you.
- Bring you back up to bite and perforate your skin with their huge teeth.
- Shake you like a rag doll so you fall apart.
- Snack on the resulting manageable bite sized pieces.
Australian gal, Kelsey Mostyn explains it better than I do…..
May I offer some advice? In the video it was suggested you could check with the locals to find out where it is safe to swim. Perhaps I can save you the bother an answer that right here and now. The swimming pool!
Also the videos says that crocs appear anywhere north of Rockhampton whereas the earlier quoted Mackay ranger says anywhere north of Gladstone. Just to clear that up, these two places are a hypothetical stone’s throw away from each other. But anywhere north of these pretty much covers the entire top half of Australia.
That probably explains why most of us live in the bottom half.
By the way, if you’re like me and thought that Billabong was a clothing label, then like me today you can be enlightened. A billabong is an isolated large puddle/small lake usually formed when a river changes direction.
Crocodile attacks are responsible for less than one death per year in Australia, and pretty much all of those deaths could have been avoided by following some simple safety rules.
Safety was not in mind when one Stefaan Van Turnhout, now world famous as Stupid Stefaan, ignored advice and all the warning signs to go into Mason Creek with his camera in his hand to try and take a photograph of a 2 metre croc. Luckily he only got bitten on the knee and survived.
Surviving a crocodile attack does happen, but you’ll need to be lucky. I got Stefaan’s story from a site called Amazing Australia and you can go there to read more about that story and other crocodile attacks.
There are a lot of websites that offer some very interesting safety tips to prevent being eaten by a crocodile. After careful study I have whittled down all of these suggestions into one straightforward tip.
When in northern Australia, stay out of and at least 5 metres away from any natural water sources.
Can crocodiles walk on land?
Yes, they have a walking speed of around 1 to 2 km per hour and can run at a maximum speed of 10 km per hour. But they do tire very quickly.
Well, I’m no spring chicken but even at my age I could easily manage 15 km an hour with a crocodile on my tail. And I’m not going to be tiring any time soon!
So crocodiles, nothing to worry about. Although I would not be keen if, as hinted at in the video, they do start to turn up south of Brisbane.