AQWA Facts: Saltwater crocodile

Scientific name: Crocodylus porosus

A hole lot of reasons
The scientific name of the saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, means ‘pored crocodile’. ‘Porosus’ refers to the tiny pores found all over a crocodile’s skull and jaws. The pores in the skull help to reduce the weight of the skull without reducing its power. The pores also have blood vessels that connect to sensory bumps that detect changes in water pressure – such as prey swimming.

Older than dinosaurs!
Crocodiles are the world’s largest reptiles and have been around for over 200 million years! The saltwater crocodile is the largest crocodile in the world. It may grow to 7 m long, weigh over 1000 kg and live for over 75 years.

The crocodile roll
Crocodiles grab their prey and move to deep water, where they repeatedly roll to try and drown or break the neck of the prey. Instead of chewing their food, they swallow it in large chunks. To break down their chunky food, crocodiles swallow rocks! The rocks help to grind up the food in their stomach, getting more nutrients out of it. Crocodiles eat a variety of food such as small mammals, birds, fish and even cattle.

It’s all in the tail
The tail makes up half of a saltwater crocodile’s body! When swimming, the muscular tail thrusts from side to side to propel them through the water. The tail is also used to store fat. They can live off their stockpile of tail fat for up to two years!

Freshwater salties
Although they are named ‘saltwater’ crocodiles, they can be found 240 km upstream in fresh water.

Did you know?
The temperature of a crocodile’s nest determines if boys or girls are born! If the nest is less than 30°C the hatchlings will all be female. If it’s above 32°C they will all be males.

Where at AQWA?
Smile at a baby crocodile in AQWA’s Far North.

Fast facts
<700 cm
Diet: Fish, birds, mammals
Main predator (when young): Monitor lizards, snakes, eagles
Habitat: Coastal areas and rivers
Found: Southeast Asia, Northern Australia, India