The Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders, promising lush greenery and breath-taking views across ancient scenery. Amidst it all, there is a plethora of animal life, including the crocodile – perhaps the most magnificent creature in this region.
The crocs that live in the Daintree are saltwater crocs, where the males measure between 5-6 metres, and the females come in at a still-impressive 3 metres in length. In the Daintree River alone, there are thought to be around 70 adult crocodiles, a number that has increasingly grown over the past 30 years. Today, the area is popular for crocodile spotting thanks to its ever-growing number of these ancient creatures, and for its close proximity to Cairns.
You might think it’s dangerous getting up close and personal with these predators in their natural habitat but, since crocodile spotting has been a key activity here since the 70s, the crocs are used to the whir of boats on their waters and crowds gawping at them over the side of the deck.
Despite this being a prominent croc-spotting place, experts have described the area as low density because of prolonged hunting over the years. In 1974, the numbers of saltwater crocs in the Daintree Rainforest were dangerously low, forcing a legislation to be put in place to protect them. Since then, numbers have begun to rise again, and the crocs there are still breeding successfully year after year.
The crocs have been a prominent part of Australian culture for centuries, and have even been a major part of Aboriginal culture. In the past, these creatures were believed to hold bad spirits, hence why they were banished to the salt water streams around Australia.
Though today they aren’t at risk of extinction, they are still being hunted for their hide, which is the most expensive hide of all crocodiles.
Salt Water Crocodiles and Breeding
The salt water crocs in the Daintree Rainforest breed during the summer months. They lay their eggs in a compost mound they build themselves and incubate them for around 3 months. The eggs then hatch during the wet season, producing little 20cm long hatchlings that remain with their mother for a few weeks or months after they are born.
Salt Water Crocodiles and Territory
You don’t want to mess with a salt water crocodile! They are extremely territorial, and will attack anything they think may be a threat to them, including fish, mammals, other reptiles, and even humans.