It has been a while since these magnificent reptiles have been in the limelight along with Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan and the much revered Steve Irwin. Never fear; we’re here to give them all the attention they deserve. Read on to learn some Saltwater Crocodile facts for kids you might not know.
Fun Crocodile Facts
- Crocodiles are members of the order Crocodilia, which includes caimans, gharials and alligators.
- Australia is home to two species of crocodiles; the saltwater crocodile and the freshwater crocodile (also called Johnstone’s Crocodile).
- The main difference between a saltwater crocodile and a freshwater crocodile is the size. The saltwater crocodile is much bigger than the freshwater crocodile.
- The saltwater crocodile is the largest species of crocodile.
- The largest one ever found was 6.17 m long.
- Saltwater crocodiles can weigh up to 907 kg.
- Saltwater Crocodiles are carnivores and eat fish, birds, frogs and any mammals smaller than them.
- Saltwater Crocodiles have the strongest bite of any animal in the world.
- Saltwater Crocodiles’ jaws have very high crushing strength (50 times that of a human’s and about 3 times that of a lion’s) but very low opening strength. That means their mouths can be held shut with just a rubber band.
- Saltwater Crocodiles can’t chew. They can only clamp down on their prey with their powerful jaws and swallow it whole.
- Saltwater Crocodiles swallow small stones to help grind up their food in their stomachs.
- Saltwater Crocodiles can go months without food.
- Saltwater Crocodiles are cold-blooded, meaning they can’t generate their own heat. That’s why they live in tropical climates.
- Saltwater Crocodiles dig out burrows on the banks of rivers or lakes to hibernate during colder months.
- Saltwater Crocodiles can live up to 75 years.
- An easy way to tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles is to observe the shape of their jaws. An alligator’s jaw is U-shaped, whereas a crocodile’s jaw is V-shaped.
- When crocodiles lose a tooth, it is quickly replaced. Over the lifespan of a single crocodile, approximately 8,000 teeth are lost and replaced!
- Saltwater Crocodiles don’t sweat. To keep cool, they keep their mouths wide open while sitting statue-still. It’s called ‘mouth gaping’.
- Saltwater Crocodiles have exceptional hearing. They can even hear their babies ‘chirping’ while still in their eggs!
- Saltwater Crocodiles swim very fast, up to speeds of 32 mph.
- Saltwater Crocodiles can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour.
- While the cane toad has been known to kill Saltwater Crocodiles, studies show Saltwater Crocodiles who eat a toad and just fall ill are known to develop taste aversions to this poisonous amphibian.
- The colloquialism ‘crocodile tears’ comes from the somewhat common occurrence of ‘tears’ flowing from crocodiles’ eyes while devouring their prey. This strange phenomenon happens because crocodiles sometimes swallow too much air while eating, which impacts their lachrymal glands!
Where do Saltwater Crocodiles live?
Saltwater crocodiles don’t just live in Australia. They can also be found in Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and the Solomon Islands.
A video of a Saltwater Crocodile
Here you can see a saltwater crocodile in action.
The most interesting fact about Saltwater Crocodiles
Crocodiles’ closest living relatives are birds! Crocodiles share a common ancestor with the bird, which lived around 240 million years ago and gave rise to the dinosaurs. Read more about this interesting scientific finding.
Crocodile Sanctuaries in Brisbane
- Australia Zoo – Find this Brisbane zoo on the Sunshine Coast, 35 minutes north of Brisbane, and drop in for a choreographed crocodile show. Home of the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin and loads of other animals today, it stands to reason that Australia Zoo is Queensland’s biggest and most well-known zoo. It’s perfect for a day out with the family. Consider booking a buggy in advance, especially if family members need assistance.
- Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – Located an hour South of Brisbane, this sanctuary is home to their massive resident croc, Boss Hog. This brute was caught in the wild in the 1980s after killing a stud bull worth a hefty price. He is almost five meters long and 800kg in weight in captivity today. At 12:30 PM every day, one lucky visitor gets the chance to pole feed him chicken
Where to see saltwater crocodiles in the wild in Australia
Below is a map of where you can expect to find saltwater crocodiles in Australia. As you can see, most of Northern Australia is home to these incredible creatures. If you visit the top end of Australia, you should be guided by signs and local tour guides as to where and where you cannot swim or just go “walk about”.
Other interesting animals in Australia
Australia is home to some of the most interesting animals in the world. You can find a complete list here of unique Australian animals or check out some of our favourites like the Queensland Grouper and fun facts about the platypus.