Darwin Day 2 - "Come to Dinner!"
Trip Start Feb 06, 2012
46Trip End Apr 16, 2012
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After a coach ride of about an hour we ended up at the site. Here we got into an enclosed windowed boat and went out into the river to see if we could find some crocs. The guides held meat out on a rope to attract the crocodiles and make them rise up out of the water to take the meat
The saltwater crocodile is the world’s largest crocodile and can grow up to six metres in length and a few even larger ones have been reported. The size of the croc enables it to be a predator on animals as large as cattle and horses and sometimes unwary people. “Salties” are found in the coastal and tidal areas of rivers as well as floodplains and freshwater reaches of rivers and in fact can be found in the larger rivers, lagoons and billabongs right across northern Australia. It is interesting that if a waterway is not designated ‘safe for swimming’ then it may be inhabited by crocodiles. The general rule is NO Sign, NO Swim. There is actually very little swimming done in the Northern Territory unless it is in a pool!
Freshwater crocodiles “Freshies” do not grow to more than 3.5-4 metres, are more timid and will only attack people when they are forced to defend themselves. The main difference between the species is that the “Freshies” have a long tapered snout and ths “Salties” have a broad snout
Hunting of both species in the 40’s to 60’s saw a great reduction in the crocodile population. The hunting of “Freshies” stopped in 1964 and the “Salties” in 1971 when they were declared a protected species. As a result crocodile populations have increased from an estimated 6,000 - 7,000 animals in the early 1970’s and are now over 70,000.
Although crocodiles are protected in the wild, they are farmed in the Top End and provide employment for hundreds of Territorians in farms, tanneries,and support businesses. The farms produce high quality skins and meat for Australian and overseas markets. We did see products made from crocodile -- wallets, purses etc. and we have been offered crocodile food dishes on the ship. Although I did taste the kangaroo I have not tasted the crocodile ......yet!