Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni)
The Natural Habitat of the Freshwater “Freshie” Crocodile is in Northern Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland & Western Australia). Freshwater Crocodiles are found in various permanent freshwater areas such as lakes, billabongs and swamps, plus less saline upstream areas of river systems and creeks.
This Crocodile can grow up to 3m long at a slow rate and because of their size are not classed as “man-eaters” They have unusually narrow, tapering snouts with a mouth lined with 68-72 sharp teeth. The eyes have a special clear eyelid, which protects the eyes while underwater. They have strong legs with clawed, webbed feet and an incredibly powerful tail. The skin is usually light brown in colour, with dark bands on the body and tail.
- Diet: Freshwater Crocodiles mainly feed on fish, crustaceans and insects. They will also prey upon small invertebrates such as mammals, amphibians and birds when the opportunity occurs. They swallow stones to aide in digestion, and drink only freshwater.
- Reproduction: Males reach sexual maturity when 1.5m in length and the females when slightly smaller. The females nest in holes that are exposed on sandbanks. Mating occurs three to six weeks before laying.
- Clutch Statistics: Clutches average in size between 13 and 20 eggs and hatch in about 65 to 95 days. Amazingly the mothers return in time to carry the young to the water in their mouths and continue to protect them for a short period of time.
- Male/Female Ratio: Nest temperatures of 32° C usually produce male embryos, whereas slightly cooler or warmer temperatures produce females. On average only one percent of these hatchlings will survive to reach maturity due to predation or other environmental factors.
- Hunting Behaviour: They favour a sit-and-wait hunting strategy, snatching prey up with a lightning-fast sideways movement of the head.
- Lifespan: Unknown, approx. estimates suggest around 50 years.