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Freshwater Crocodile

Close up of eye of a young Freshwater (or Johnston's) Crocodile
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Scientific Name: Crocodylus johnstoni

Size: 3 metres

What does it look like?

The Freshwater Crocodile is grey to greenish-brown in colour, with irregular darker patches along sides, flanks and top of body. Smooth, slender snout compared to Saltwater Crocodile’s, and large, triangular scutes (thickened scales) along top of tail.

Where is it found?

Found in near coastal and adjacent inland areas of northern Australia from Kimberleys, WA, to Gulf of Carpentaria and southern Cape York Peninsula, Qld.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Freshwater Crocodile occupies freshwater rivers, lagoons and swamps, floodplains during wet season, and occasionally found in more saline, brackish waters. Walks with elevated body. Not regarded as dangerous to people, but swimmers have been bitten, either by accident or for defensive reasons, and bites cause deep lacerations and infection. When threatened, inflates and vibrates body, creating large ripples in the water. Feeds mostly on insects and fish, but spiders, amphibians, crustaceans and small reptiles (including young crocodiles), birds and mammals are also consumed. Oviparous, with clutches of 4–20 hard-shelled eggs, laid in hole dug in sandbank. Females do not guard nest, but assist hatched young to reach water.

Interesting facts

Alternative names: Johnston’s Crocodile; Johnson’s Crocodile; Freshie; Johnstone’s River Crocodile; Johnstone’s Crocodile; Fish Crocodile

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Reptiles of Australia (2nd Edition) cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Australia

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