Adelaide River Jumping Crocodiles


Jumping Crocodiles

There is something quite awesome about being up close to a crocodile which leaps completely out of the water in order to grab a dangling piece of meat, but this is one of the attractions on the Adelaide River in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Bear in mind that some of these jumping crocodiles are up to six metres in length (nearly 20ft) and you can get some idea of how impressive they are.

At six metres in length, a male croc will weigh about one tonne (2,200lbs), which just goes to show just how powerful these magnificent beasts really are.

There are leaping directly from water, not land, and their aim is always accurate.  Once a jumping crocodile has that meat within its jaws it merely uses its weight to break the piece of rope holding the chicken, and slips back into the water.

I was on the Adelaide River Queen cruise, and ours was a two-storey vessel.


Crocodile personalities

There are about one hundred crocodiles living on the stretch of river we traversed, and, according the skipper Rod King, each one has a unique personality.

This surprised me because crocodiles are ancient, harking back almost to the dinosaurs, and we rarely think of reptiles as being individuals, but, indeed they are.

Rod told me that the crocodile brain is only about one tenth the size of an adult human brain, but that they use one hundred percent of their brains, and they are very efficient.

When you sit on the bottom deck of the boat you can really appreciate the massive size of the crocs as they leap just a few feet in front of you.  Length and girth are very impressive.

From the top deck, you get a different, though somewhat less intimate, view. This location gives you a totally different perspective because you get a 360 degree view of the river to see the crocs’ movements, and you can gave right down their throats as they open their mouths wide to accept their meals.

The majority of the crocs on the river are female, and there is usually about one bull to every twenty females.

Those numbers can vary as very large, wily and aggressive males can protect more river from intruders.  Young males will often try their luck with the females, but they risk being killed by the large bulls.

Indeed, one of the males that is seen regularly has a big chunk of flesh missing, courtesy of a fight with a large bull, and he shows this off to the viewers, perhaps to elicit sympathy, or because he is proud of his wound.

Which just goes to prove how canny crocodiles actually are.

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