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Australian Saltwater Crocodile

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An Enemy for Life

Provoking a free Saltwater crocodile is something inadvisable. This animal is not the dull monster some TV-shows make believe when presenting their imprisoned specimens.


The pictured saltwater crocodile was accidentally provoked by the author years ago, while watching several of the animals in a swamp out of a tree. It could have disappeared into the water but instead moved into a state of pure aggression while seemingly waiting for the intruder to come down. The extreme bend of the tail is only the most evident sign for that. Simultaneously it sent out fiercely warning noises sounding like hissing.

One should not expect a saltwater crocodile to develop any fear in such a situation. It might move back at one point and probably would do so for logical reasons. But if it feels it was intentionally provoked, the problem can last much longer than one would imagine. And then it gets obvious that this ancient creature possesses some sort of deep personality that is unfathomable to us.  There are many  illustrations

 to understand this, but the following might be the best: Once the author met some traditional Aboriginal hunters and offered them to try his kayak. They explained that it is not possible for them to enter the water in such a small boat. The reason for this would be that the saltwater crocodiles that in the past years or decades had escaped the hunters when trying to spear them, each of these animals would recognise exactly the hunter who once attacked it, and the crocodile would look for fatal retribution if there was an opportunity. This danger would not last for some months, but for as long as the crocodile lives – which can be more than a hundred years.

To avoid situations that could be felt as provocation by a saltwater crocodile, it is enough to use common sense and to behave respectful in any regard while in the remote territories. According to Aboriginal sources regarding incidents on the remote coastline where a crocodile has surprisingly attacked a person out of a group of people, this is often an act of defending the area when the group has behaved contumeliously, for example by being loud and distressing.

As already declared, it is vital to accept that there is a very strong landlord in Australia’s remote northern areas - a creature that has not much in common with the humiliated captive crocodiles, presented in TV-shows for example.                                                                                                           >


               Copyright © Steffen Pichler