Saltwater Crocodile

A female Saltwater Crocodile basking on a muddy shore of a river
Female Saltwater Crocodile

What does it look like? DANGEROUS. The Saltwater Crocodile is unmistakable. Long, broad snout, heavily built body and long, powerful tail. Back and limbs mottled grey-brown to blackish, with numerous osteoderms (bony plates) visible on neck, back and flanks. Underside pale cream. Males typically larger than females.

Where is it found?  Coastal regions and drainage systems of northern and north-eastern Australia, from Broome, WA to around Gladstone, Qld, but also in deeper oceans and on islands up to 100km from mainland.

What are its habitats & habits? Occurs in various coastal habitats, including fresh and brackish rivers, estuaries, creeks, swamps, lagoons and billabongs, and readily enters the open sea. Active year round, and individuals often seen basking on open mud banks. If threatened, emits low, rumbling growl. Young eat insects, fish, crustaceans and reptiles; adults eat mammals, fish, birds, reptiles (including turtles and smaller crocodiles) and, on rare occasions, people. There are normally warning signs in place in areas where people are at risk from attacks. Oviparous, laying up to 70 hard-shelled eggs in mound of vegetation, which is protected by female; she assists hatched young by digging them out and carrying them in her mouth to water.

Scientific name: Crocodylus porosus

Size: 5m (rarely to 7m)

Also known as: Estuarine Crocodile; Salty

Do you want to know more about Australia’s reptiles or other dangerous Australian animals like this species? Check out our books “The Naturalist’s Guide to Reptiles of Australia” & “The Naturalist’s Guide to Dangerous Creatures of Australia” – available for purchase through our secure online store