Crocodile feeding at Crocodylus Park

The Northern Territory is famous for its crocs. The Northern Territory Government even provided free crocodile insurance to US President Barack Obama when he visited.

That means that he was insured against attack by a crocodile, the crocs weren’t insured against meeting the President.

Crocodiles thrive in tropical climates, and the Northern Territory has tropical climate in spades. It also has thousands of kilometres of coastline and huge rivers, all of which make excellent homes for crocs.

There are two main types of croc. There is the freshwater crocodile, which grows to about one metre in length and which lives mainly on a diet of fish. It has a long snout and mouth which is ideal for catching fish, but is not ideal for catching humans. I don’t recommend that you go swimming with freshies, as they are called, but they don’t really pose much of a risk to humans as we are not part of their food chain.

The other type of croc is the saltwater crocodile, which, despite its name, can live perfectly happily in both salt water and fresh water. Salties, yes we add an ies to most words in Australia, can grow up to six metres in length and that have a mouth that is broad and teeth that are made for gripping so that when they catch their prey they can hold it in their powerful jaws and roll around to hold the prey underwater to drown it, before setting it aside to decompose a little, as that is nature’s way of tenderising fresh meat.

The other fact that you should know about salties is that they are more than happy to devour humans as we don’t pose much of a problem to them. In fact, salties will even devour water buffalo, which are beasts so large they make us humans look like leprechauns.

One of the best places to get to know crocodiles is at Crocodylus Park and Zoo in Darwin, a crocodile farm which captures crocs, breeds crocs, turns crocs into meat and leather goods, and has crocs on display.

Just after you enter Crocodylus you will see a museum, which you should visit before going out into the zoo as you will learn much about the life cycle of the crocodiles and gain an appreciation for them before you venture out to experience real live crocs for yourself.

Each hour there is a feeding session, where you can see crocs leap out of the water to snare their food. Just to see these massive beasts launch themselves a couple of metres into the air in order to grab a chicken is an amazing site, and one which reinforces your knowledge that you do not want to encounter these magnificent beasts close up in the wild.

Watch this video, and enjoy the sight of crocodiles feeding – it’s a pity they have such bad table manners.

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