We rose from our tents before sunrise to take an early morning cruise on the glassy water of the Rockhole Billabong. We were on a mission to spot freshwater crocodiles, native birds and wetland wildlife.
This picturesque river system is home to approximately 10,000 crocodiles, which is the highest amount in the world.
During the sunrise cruise I learnt these facts about crocodiles:
- Freshwater crocodiles are shy and timid, they’re not aggressive
- A 5m crocodile will eat around 5kg of fresh meat each week
- They will always to take the smallest animal first
- Crocodiles have 66 teeth and as they fall out, they can go through 8,000 teeth in their life
- Crocodiles can stay underwater for 1.5hrs and travel at a speed of 25kph (they’re much slower on land)
- Freshwater crocodiles live for 80 years, compared to 100 years for saltwater crocodiles
- Only 1% of crocodiles survive to adulthood
- An easy way to spot the difference between a crocodile and an alligator – a crocodile the fourth tooth from the bottom is always visible, alligators teeth are all inside the mouth
On our hour-long ride we only saw 10 crocodiles. That doesn’t sound much compared to 26 spotted the day beforehand! Freshwater crocodiles can be hard to see if they are under water or camouflaged on the banks of the river.
Our guide said we may have seen more if were an hour or two later when it was a bit warmer.
We also saw a cosy pair of White Belly Sea Eagles, high up in a tree. These large birds mate for life. The female lays three eggs but only one survives.
The male takes time to make a nest and if the female doesn’t like it, she’ll knock it down and he’ll have to start over. Yikes mate, no pressure!
Up next: I visit the incredible Kakadu National Park.