The saltwater crocodile, also known as the estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles. This apex predator is formidable, opportunistic and adaptable, with a considerable range it is found in suitable habitats from northern Australia through Southeast Asia to the eastern coast of India.
The Saltwater Crocodile is usually found in deep, dark murky water. It may inhabit fresh or saltwater but is most commonly found in the brackish estuary areas of Northern Australia.
Saltwater Crocodiles take a wide variety of prey, although juveniles are restricted to smaller items such as insects, amphibians, crustaceans, small reptiles and fish. The larger the animal becomes, the larger its prey items are. Although a large male crocodile could take on a food item as large as a 1 tonne Water Buffalo, the majority of their diet consists of relatively small prey items such as crustaceans, fish, turtles, small mammals and birds.
Around breeding season, which usually takes place during the wet season, large male crocodiles will patrol their stretches of water protecting their territory from intruding males. When Saltwater Crocodiles are courting one another, they will rub their heads and bodies together. Mating takes place in the water. Between 4-6 weeks after mating, the female will lay 40-60 eggs in her nest. The nest may be up to 80cm high and is made of vegetation broken off by the female's teeth and scraped together with her hind legs.
Saltwater Crocodile Profiles
Length: 5m (16ft)
Weight: 1000kg (2200lbs)
The largest, oldest and definitely the wisest salty we have. This croc is really old and knows every trick in the book. Trying to do a demonstration with Acco can actually be quite frustrating at times, with him sitting right in front of you but refusing to come out. This is one intelligent croc. He knows he has no chance of catching himself a keeper while we're watching him. He sits there as if he is not interested in what you're doing. Sometimes he won't move a muscle for ten minutes or more.
Acco is hoping we'll turn our backs or look at the crowd so he'll have a chance. We never take anything for granted when working around our crocs, because we know that if you take your eye off one of these guys there'll be no second chances. Suddenly, when you least expect, Acco screams out of the water with everything he's got. And this bloke has a lot on his side.
Measuring in at 16ft or 5 metres and weighing 1000kgs, Acco is one big boy. At his size Acco could easily take down cows, horses or water buffalo equal to his own weight.
Acco lives with another old crocodile. Connie is a large female about 9 1/2 ft and approximately 50 years old. She is a very demanding crocodile. Each croc has their own personality just like humans. Connie is one of those girls who wants everything her own way. She will leave her food to come over and try to steal Acco's, and if things don't go as she wants Connie really gives it to poor old Acco, often biting him and letting everyone know she's not happy. Lucky for Connie, Acco's a very patient croc and seems to enjoy her company so he just smiles and lets Connie have her tantrums. Sometimes we don't know how he does it...
Length: 4.7m (15.04ft)
Weight: 600kg (1320lbs)
This bloke is awesome; weighing in at over 600kgs and measuring over 15ft, this is one impressive croc. Agro was captured from the wild back in 1988. He was removed from Cattle Creek in north Queensland to protect him from being shot dead by hunters.
Agro is now very happy protecting his territory here at Australia Zoo. Not only is Agro protecting his waterhole, he is also extremely protective of his lovely female. The love of his life is Cookie, a large female of 10ft who was caught in exactly the same area as Agro, so these two were probably a bit of an item in the wild. She has a beautiful nature, and is the quietest and gentlest of all our crocodiles. Agro and Cookie are a perfect couple, they get on like a house on fire.
Maintaining the original waterhole that Agro and Cookie lived in at Australia Zoo was probably our most nerve-racking job. Mowing their enclosure was like a sport-you did not stop sweating. The entire time you were working it was hot-but because of nerves, not the weather!. You knew somewhere in that dark, dirty water Agro was lining you up. Agro hunted the lawnmower just like he would an animal in the wild. To date Agro has beaten us on four occasions. Yep, we have had to replace four lawnmowers because Agro has successfully attacked and killed them. (The machines, not the people!)
Many people ask why Agro hates the lawnmowers so much. Well basically, it is a really annoying sound that he sees as a threat to his territory. Agro will do anything to drive the lawnmower out of his territory and protect his family from this threat.
Length: 2.9m (9.28ft)
Weight: 120kg (264lbs)
Bindi was caught by Steve in the East Coast Croc Management program back in 1988. She was classed as a problem croc and if she was not caught she would have been shot dead. To avoid such a pointless killing Steve promptly captured her and brought her back to the Zoo. Bindi is a very light coloured croc (we call her a blonde) and has quite an attitude.
She does not stand for any rubbish from anyone, especially our crocodile keepers. This of course can make life interesting when you are maintaining her enclosure and during nesting season she is even worse: a few years ago she ripped a fuel tank off a lawn mower while protecting her nest.
It is easy to see why Steve loved her as his favourite crocodile. Steve liked Bindi that much that when his first daughter was born, he named her after this crocodile. Bindi (the crocodile) is one of the best mothers out of any of the Zoo crocodiles. When it comes to building a nest and protecting her babies she is amazing. No snakes, goannas, rats or crocodile keepers are going to touch her nest without her permission.
Length: 3.9m (12.48ft)
Weight: 250kg (550lbs)
Weighing in at over 250kgs and measuring almost 13 feet in length Bosco is a truly awesome crocodile.
He was caught in the Herbert River near Ingham in North Queensland in 2010. Having been recently relocated from the wild he still displays all of his true ‘crocodile' characteristics, which makes him one of the most dangerous crocodiles to work with here at the zoo! You really need to keep your wits about you once you enter his territory!
He really loves his new home here at Australia Zoo and spends much of his time cruising up and down the pond patrolling his territory. When he is not defending his home he can usually be found sunning himself on the high bank, soaking up some much needed and loved sunshine!
Bosco shares his home with a gorgeous little sheila named Terra, who is 10ft long and 100kgs. Bosco and Terra are the perfect couple, getting along really well, to the point where Terra started nesting this season with Bosco often seen sitting beside her to keep her company.
At this size Bosco is not the biggest crocodile in the world, but he is one of the sneakiest and most dangerous crocs to feed because of his habit of stalking and then exploding out of the water to ambush the keepers. So, next time you're at Australia Zoo drop on by and check him out, and if you are lucky enough to see him getting a feed you certainly won't be disappointed!
Length: 3.7m (11.84ft)
Weight: 350kg (770lbs)
Have a go at this bloke! This is one angry croc. As far as aggression goes this croc is the meanest fella I have ever come across. But it all comes from his up bringing - he hasn't had a lot of reason to like people. Hopefully after some fair dinkum Australia Zoo attention he'll settle right down and we can give him what every bloke needs - a cute little girl to keep him company. Casper is a white croc but he is not albino. Albinos lack all pigment in their skin Casper lacks only the black pigment - he is called leusistic. He was caught from the Wyndham Crocodile Farm in November 2002 by Steve, Wes and Briano. He weighed in at 250kg (550lbs) and is approximately 3.5m (11ft).
Cassie is a female saltwater crocodile and was caught from the wild in 1988 from cattle creek. She is around nine feet long and weighs around 100kg and is her mid twenties. Cassie lives with a large male crocodile called Sharka who is very protective over her. It was love at first sight! Before Sharka, Cassie lived with Charlie and Amy until 2003. Their enclosure is out the back of the Crocoseum but Cassie does not take part in main Crocoseum show.
She is a fiery female and gives the croc boys the chase around on a regular basis. In breeding season, she won't let her keepers anywhere near the back of the enclosure where she nests.
Length: 3m (9.6ft)
Weight: 150kg (330lbs)
Cookie is the love of Agro's life. She is a large female at 10ft and is an absolute sweetie.
All crocs are individuals and have their own personality. Just like us, you get active ones, angry ones, and some that are an out right pain in the neck. But every now and then you come across an animal that is an absolute delight. Cookie has the gentlest of natures. While we are maintaining the enclosure she'll lay their sunning herself, always watching but undisturbed. During feeding Cookie will ever so gently take the food out of your hand, much like a well trained dog (well one with big teeth!). All the time Agro is steaming out the ears at the fact you're near his girl. He'll protect her with his life!
Length: 2.4m (7.68ft)
Weight: 90kg (198lbs)
Monty also lives with his gorgeous girlfriend Goldie who was caught from the upper reaches of the Burdekin River. Despite being a small female she sure knows how to keep Monty in line and every year this pair produces a clutch of fertile eggs.
Length: 3.7m (11.84ft)
Weight: 350kg (770lbs)
Graham is the most notorious croc at Australia Zoo. He was caught at Townsville in north Queensland by Steve Irwin in 1988. He was hanging around the boat ramp because the fishermen were feeding him-not intentionally, but they were leaving fishing frames after cleaning their catch as well as left-over crab bait-great food for a young croc! For this reason Graham had made the boat ramp his home. Now when fisherman launch their boats at the boat ramp they need to enter the water, sometimes up to their waist, and seeing as how male crocs grow to more than 5m long and weigh one tonne, Graham had to go.
Steve was able to catch Graham by hand, but Graham never forgot or forgave Steve for catching him out in the wild. At the time of his capture he was six foot long, but as soon as he reached the Zoo he began to grow.
Graham outgrew his enclosure mates in a short while and started to become a bit of a bully. Steve decided to catch Graham and put him in another enclosure. Steve entered the enclosure with a top jaw rope to lasso Graham and a chicken to entice him out. Graham came out alright, so hard and fast that he went past the chicken and grabbed Steve by the hand. Graham pulled Steve into the pond in half a second. Luckily 95kgs of Steve landed straight on Graham's head, and when that happens you would normally open up your mouth and let out a bad word or two. Graham did just that, and Steve got away.
Steve had to wait a couple of weeks for his hand to heal before he could capture Graham and move him to a new pond. Little did Graham know he was in for an extra surprise! Steve gave Graham his favourite crocodile Bindi as a girlfriend. It was a match made in heaven.
One night when the Zoo was hit by a huge storm, 700mm of rain fell in only a few hours. Graham's pond was underwater and full of debris, and this was when we discovered just how protective Graham had become! Steve and Wes had to enter Graham's enclosure to clean the fences so they would not wash away. Graham spotted Steve and Wes and slipped from view.
It only took him a couple of seconds to swim the length of his pond (80 metres) and this is when he grabbed Wes by the leg and bottom. Luckily Steve jumped on Graham. Wes tore himself free and made sure Steve was safe before he jumped out. Graham was happily chewing on a pick handle that Steve had given him as a replacement for Wes. Graham was happy; he had protected Bindi from Steve and Wes and had chased them away. Wes had a very sore leg and backside for a couple of weeks. A few weeks later Wes was back feeding Graham again and made sure to give Bindi a wide berth so as not to upset Graham.
Wes and Steve do not blame Graham for biting them. Anybody who works with animals will tell you if they get bitten, scratched or clawed it was them who made the mistake, not the animal.
Length: 2.9m (9.28ft)
Weight: 150kg (330lbs)
Now this sheila is a real handful! Lucy has attitude and boy will she give you trouble if you get in her way!! She was captured from a boat ramp near Townsville where she was hanging around for scraps left by fisherman. Although at her size she wouldn't be big enough to take on a food item the size of a person she sure could hang on to you long enough for Weipa to come over and sort you right out!!
Length: 3.7m (11.84ft)
Weight: 400kg (880lbs)
Monty was captured from the Townsville boat ramp back in 1975 when he was around 3 feet long. At this time I was around three feet high so growing up together the two of us have built a pretty special relationship. I love Monty and Monty would absolutely LOVE to grab a hold of me! Monty was also the star of the show in many of the scenes for the movie "Collision Course". He doesn't give out autographs however you can take as many pictures as you like!
Length: 4m (12.8ft)
Weight: 500kg (1100lbs)
Mossman is an impressive-looking crocodile. At almost thirteen feet in length he has reached the size where he could take down large mammals such as pigs, cows, horses and Asian Water Buffalo. This bloke has a big head. Large penetrating teeth protrude from a jaw that has three thousand pounds per square inch jaw pressure - one of nature's most powerful weapons. This guy can smash through bone like we eat toast at breakfast time. Not that he is slow; he can hit so hard and fast that animals with really quick reflexes like kangaroos and dingos are well and truly on the menu.
Weighing in at over 500kg, Mossman is in fantastic condition. Not particularly fat but with enough condition to sustain him through the harder months, Mossman could probably go for 12 months without eating a single thing. He would be a very hungry lad, but as he is a reptile and gets the energy he needs to warm his blood from the sun, he only needs a fraction of the food mammals like us need. At his size, Mossman would be looking to set up his own territory and find himself a girlfriend. We haven't given Mossman a girlfriend as yet. He has only been at Australia Zoo for 12 months and we want him to settle in and become comfortable before introducing him to a female.
Mossman is one of our most intelligent crocodiles. He is particularly cautious, cunning and very calculating. All good reasons to respect the big bloke and remind us that in the water and at the water's edge is a very dangerous place to hang out in croc territory.
Munga was relocated to Australia Zoo in November 2004, after he spotted hanging around a bit too close to the town of Cardwell, in far north Queensland. Munga was removed from Meunga Creek, so Stevo thought it was only fitting to name him 'Munga'.
Munga was soon labelled the 'problem croc' and could not be released back into the wild. Steve was more than happy for Australia Zoo to be his new home.
Munga was first moved into an off display enclosure at the Zoo so he could comfortably settle into his new life. Five years on, Munga is now a great addition to Australia Zoo’s world renowned Crocoseum demo.
Munga is certainly a handful. At only ten and a half feet long, what he lacks in size, he certainly makes up for in attitude! He is best described as a naughty croc; if he’s not showing the crowds his explosive power at the waters edge; he’s probably trying to play catch-and-kill the keeper with our croc team.
Munga is estimated to be about 24-years-old. At this age he is too young to have a female in his enclosure- so this boy enjoys the single life. When this cheeky little fella gets a bit bigger, we’ll be sure to introduce him to a cute looking lady croc!
Length: 3.4m (10.88ft)
Weight: 250kg (550lbs)
Norman, or Stormin' Norman as we often call him, is another very new addition to the Zoo's crocodile family. He is a very young, yet explosive, animal. Measuring in at 10 ½ ft long and approximately 200 kgs. This bloke's a nightmare. He would have to be one of the most aggressive, destructive crocs we've ever come across. He attacks non-stop every time you enter his enclosure - and fast! Gee, this bloke is quick!
He also has a very frustrating habit of destroying everything we do to his enclosure. We ran a water line into one of his ponds to give him the option to sit in cooler water, so Norman tore the whole line out of the ground and ripped it into about six pieces. We laid turf in a bare corner of his enclosure; well Norman, liked that corner so he chewed the turf into a million bits and dragged it all into his pond. While Norman's only very young and still quite small, he has proved time and time again he's not to be taken lightly. This bloke is lightning quick and is fast growing into one very impressive croc who demands respect.
Length: 4.3m (13.76ft)
Weight: 500kg (1100lbs)
Weipa is about 14ft long and he's armed with one of the biggest heads we've ever seen on a croc his size; it's huge and it's powerful. As his name suggests, he was caught in Weipa only a year and a half ago. Weipa is a town on the western side of Cape York Peninsula and is home to some of the more stable crocodile populations in Queensland. There are many large crocodiles living in this area, making it a pretty tough neighbourhood.
Weipa has some very distinguishing features that are results of growing up in such a populated area. He has suffered massive scarring on his tail. There is a series of scars at the base of his tail just behind his back legs and another halfway along his tail. These scars run nearly the whole way around his tail, indicating that it was nearly completely torn off by a larger crocodile, probably in a fight over territory. Lucky for this bloke, crocodiles have amazing healing abilities. If he was a mammal he would have bled to death.
Only being out of the wild for a very short period of time, Weipa still displays many natural behaviours. This makes him very difficult to work around because we never know what to expect. It does, however, make our feeding demonstrations with Weipa really exciting because this bloke hits like a bomb. He explodes out of the water in a heart beat and the sound of his jaw bones crunching together is immense. When we first released him into his new enclosure, no one saw Weipa for an entire month.
The feeding process started by leaving food on the bank which he would take at night. As he became more comfortable with us being around we, threw food from the opposite side of the pond. We knew when Weipa really started to settle in because instead of hiding be began attacking us. It's a little bit unnatural for a crocodile to feed on land but it is the safest option for our keepers. While it can take some crocs a long time to become accustomed to the technique, Weipa has really taken to it and is well worth the visit.