Freshwater Crocodiles in Ross River

We know they are there, but we don’t often see them – freshwater crocodiles in Ross River, that is.

Freshies, as many locals call them, are smaller than salties. They are generally shy, attacking only when startled into defending themselves; and when they do, their narrow jaws and relatively small teeth can’t do as much damage as a saltie’s heavy head, although the Australian Museum warns us that they can still cause serious injuries.

They can also be hard to spot, even in plain view.

crocodile on log
Catching some sunshine

This one was barely a metre from the river bank and less than ten from the bike path, upstream from Aplin’s Weir on the Douglas side of the river.

I only interrupted my ride because I saw a water bird drying its wings on the tip of the dead tree, and only noticed the crocodile after taking photos of the bird.

crocodile on log
A closer view

I walked down the bank to within a couple of metres of the croc but it didn’t even stir, and I had to resist the temptation to toss a stick at it to make sure it was still alive: crocodiles deserve their nap times just as much as we do. I reckoned it to be 1.5 – 1.8 metres long, which in freshie terms is well grown but not outstandingly large.

The bird wasn’t bothered by my movements, either. It was still on its perch after I had finished photographing the crocodile beneath it.

Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant

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