If you want to see a saltwater crocodile in person, there’s no better place to go than Kakadu National Park. There are approximately 100,000 crocodiles total (both saltwater and freshwater) throughout the Northern Territory and a huge number of them (10,000!) live in Kakadu National Park. If you see water anywhere in Kakadu, you should assume crocodiles may inhabit it, regardless of whether or not there’s a warning sign posted.
Recognizing Saltwater Crocs Versus Freshwater Crocs
Both saltwater and freshwater crocs are incredible to see in their natural habitat, but a lot of tourists are interested in spying the latter. While freshwater crocodiles may be as long as three meters, their saltwater counterparts can be as long as six meters and way over 100 kilograms. If you want to know what type of crocodile you’re looking at, their snout may hold the answer. Saltwater crocs have broad snouts while freshwater reptiles have more narrow snouts. Freshwater crocs will also have a row of bony plates behind their heads which their saltwater relatives do not have.
Saltwater Crocodile Behavior
One of the exciting parts of seeing these salty beasts is watching them eat. They have a steady diet that mostly consists of fish. However, they sometimes eat other sea animals such as turtles. They may also eat birds and sometimes even larger animals like pigs, wallabies, dogs, horses, and even cows.
If you’re watching crocodiles in Kakadu National Park and you see it open its mouth, it may not be because it’s spotted a tasty treat. It could be a threat, but it could also be for the crocodile’s own protection. Crocodiles often open their jaws wide because they don’t want their brains to overheat if they are in direct sunlight. Of course, if you know anything about reptiles, you know they’re coldblooded which means that their own body temperature is dictated by the environment they’re in.
Crocodiles are predators that are fiercely protective of their environment. If they feel their territory is being threatened by another croc, they aren’t afraid to fight even if it means killing their enemy crocodile. The crocodile that’s on the losing end of the dual will try to relocate to new territory that may even be hundreds of kilometres away.
Safety Tips for Saltwater Crocodile Watching in Kakadu National Park
From November to April, saltwater crocodiles are breeding so they are especially territorial and aggressive. While you should be vigilant of crocs no matter what time of year it is, if you’re in the Northern Territory, you should be especially cautious during these months.
If you brought snacks with you to Kakadu National Park, you should never dispose of scraps in the water or by boat ramps. You shouldn’t be feeding the crocs whether on purpose or on accident. Since crocs are prevalent in all the water, bring plenty of your own water to stay hydrated. You never know when a croc may be lurking just below the surface and ready to pounce if you go to collect water. Make sure you also stay away from the water’s edge and if you have kids with you, keep a close eye on them to make sure they do the same.
Book Your Day Trip to Kakadu National Park to See the Salty Crocs
Although there are some safety precautions to keep in mind, watching saltwater crocodiles in Kakadu National Park is an exciting experience you won’t soon forget. If you want it to be as educational and interesting as possible, book a 1 day Kakadu tour or a Jumping Crocodile Cruise tour from Darwin with Autopia Tours! We’ll make sure you get everything you can out of this travel experience.