Billabong: reptiles

Still at Billabong Sanctuary

Girls with snakes around their shoulders
Relaxed attitude: Woma (left) and Boa

There is a sequence of talks and shows through the day – birds, koalas, (small) reptiles, dingos and so on, culminating in the largest reptiles. The snakes and lizards show was entertaining, as well as informative, partly because of the visitors’ responses.

‘Does anyone want to put this Woma around their neck?’ Response: trepidation.

‘What about this Boa Constrictor?’ Response: consternation.

But the relaxed attitude of the staff holding the snakes did reassure the visitors, and quite a few were confident enough to step forward.

Visitors were not, however, invited to step forward and handle the snappy logs. The crocodiles were quite lethargic because of the cool weather but still not to be taken lightly. Both of our Australian species were presented:

  • The Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) can grow to about 3 m in length but are usually 1.5 – 2 m. They are primarily fish-eaters, though they will also take insects, amphibians and small mammals; they are unaggressive and are considered harmless to people.
  • The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is quite a different proposition. The world’s largest living reptile, it can grow to at least 7 m and 1300 kg, and large individuals can tackle prey up to the size of a water buffalo. There are very few fatal attacks on people but staying well away from them is strongly recommended!

The first of these two pictures shows one of the Sanctuary’s larger salties; the second shows a considerably smaller animal.

Saltwater Croc - frontal view
Saltie
Ranger feeding a Saltwater croc
Do not try this at home!

More on crocs: Wikipedia has good articles on both salties and freshies.