Common Name: Freshwater Crocodile

Scientific Name: Crocodylus johnstoni

 

Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class:  Sauropsida

Order:  Crocodilia

Family:  Crocodylidae

Subfamily:  Crocodylinae

Genus:  Crocodylus

Species:  C. johnsoni

 

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The freshwater crocodiles are also known as the Australian freshwater crocodile, Johnston’s crocodile or freshie. Males can grow as long as 10 feet, while females can reach a maximum of 7 feet long. The body color is light brown with darker bands on the body and tail. It takes 20 years for the crocodile to grow to its maximum size. It’s age rarely exceeds 50 years. They have a long narrow snout and sharp teeth which are adaptations to allow its capture prey in its freshwater environment.

 

Freshwater crocodiles are native to and only found in Australia inhabiting rivers, creeks, and billabongs from the Kimberly to the Cape York Peninsula. These areas provide numerous prey including fish, frogs, lizards, and turtles. It also eats insects and spiders.

   

Until recently this crocodile was common throughout much of northern Australia. In recent years the population has begun shrinking. One reason is the loss of habitat to farmland and land development. Another reason is that they eat Cane Toads whose population has increased and are lethally poisonous to freshwater crocodiles.

  

The freshwater crocodile is an ambush predator, lying in wait for its prey to come within range. Its coloration and appearance allow it to remain hidden. Their size and speed allow them to compete for prey. They do compete for food with the saltwater crocodile but usually stay away from salt water as they are smaller and more adept in freshwater.

  

These crocodiles are not really hunted by other animals and control their population by cannibalism with the larger adults eating smaller young crocodiles. They are threatened by humans and saltwater crocodiles when competing for food.

  

These animals have been around for centuries and are very well adapted to their environment. They are not really a threat to humans and only attack when provoked. Because of their size, they do not pose a threat to human life. What stood out to me about these animals is the length of time they have survived and their ability to adapt.

 

Author: Robert N

Published: 02/2009

 

Sources: 

www.kingsnake.com/oz/crocs

www.divethereef.com

www.outbackwildliferescue.com.au

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freshwater_Crocodile