Since arriving in Darwin, I have become aware of the incredible power of crocodiles and that they truly must be the most fearsome beasts on this planet. I came to this conclusion by working alongside them and by going on a little river cruise to see them in their natural habitat.
So, my day with the crocodiles. The lovely, all female team at Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise invited me to join them and share my honest opinion about the boat cruise that they offered. To kick things off, I made friends with a snake. I’ve never really been a friend of snakes – I find their conversation uninteresting – but he was quite a cuddly little fellow.
And that was about the time that I saw the scale replica of the (unverified) largest crocodile ever caught. I fit inside his monstrous jaws with ease.
We all love putting our head inside dinosaur replicas, but to put this monstrous beast’s size into perspective, I am two metres tall, love eating pizza, and would fit inside his belly this easily.
As the boat chugged out into the waters of the Adelaide River, it was an eerie feeling to know that all around us were so many of these incredible creatures. Indeed, the Adelaide River is known for its high concentration of saltwater crocodiles and the murky water makes them invisible as they slip beneath the surface. With their incredible sensory organs that detect vibrations in the water, the majority of them slip quietly out of sight when they feel the boat coming. If you were to fall into the water, they wouldn’t need to come to the surface to see you, they would feel you in the water and the first thing that you would know would be the crocodile attacking you from beneath. Once in his grip, it is impossible to get out, unless he lets you go.
The first croc to appear was 4.5 metres long and I think he should be called ‘Honey Badger’ because he doesn’t give a… well, you’ll know if you’ve seen the honey badger video. Accordingly, he leapt from the water after the meat. Seeing a jumping crocodile is another reminder of why nature is so very wonderful. Before being allowed to take the meat, each crocodile is made to jump multiple times, the intention being that they spend more calories jumping than they gain from the meat, preventing them from becoming dependent upon the boats. Satisfied, he slunk away to do some more chilling out in the sun, the main activity of all saltwater crocodiles.
Next up was Hannibal, a crocodile estimated to be six metres long and around one hundred years old. He was chilling out too, looking a little skinny for such a big croc, other crocs eyeing him up, waiting until that time when he was weak enough to be picked off and eaten. It’s must be a curious life as a crocodile, always playing the game of eat or get eaten.
The next croc was a smaller one, it too leapt from the water, jumping for food, and after that, a big guy, Stumpy (because he is missing one foot) begun lurking around. At around 4.5-5 metres, he is big, but not the biggest. Despite this he was recently seen in the water with a whole cow. That to me, is what makes them so impressive. They are capable of taking down huge prey and they are entirely untrainable. This is what makes them the animal I would least like to be left alone in a room with.
Perched in a tree above Stumpy, a beautiful sea eagle was watching us. Animals are smarter than most people give them credit for and it knew that we had food on board. We headed away from the shore and as we neared the middle of the waterway, the sea eagle took to the wing and skimmed across the water with incredible speed, snatching a piece of meat from the air beside our boat.
Then came the scavengers – whistling kites and black kites, swooping and swerving to catch meat thrown to them.
All in all, I very much enjoyed my time aboard the Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. The all female staff were very friendly, incredibly informative, and the boat wasn’t too crowded. I have no hesitation in recommending them. If you are around Darwin, check them out on Arnhem highway, a short drive out of the city. It’s the big yellow sign that looks like this. You can book using the button below.
One last fact about saltwater crocodiles: they live primarily in fresh or brackish waters, but have the ability to move through salt water due to special glands that excrete salt and prevent them from dehydrating in the sea. This means you can find them in the rivers or the sea, or often somewhere in between. Just another terrifying bit of information about animals in Australia that can kill you. Swimming pools only for me from now on.
Where is my flight out of here?