Darwin - Jumping crocodiles - Crocodile Farm
Feb 13, 2007
|Crocodile Dundee for a day..
Most rivers of the Top End are infested by thousands of crocodiles and we decided to spend a day seeing a few and to learn a bit about them.
In Adelaide River live one female saltie on each 75 - 100 metres! We spent an hour driving on a river cruise that specializes in feeding the big reptiles making them jump for their food. The concept can certainly be discussed but it is just spectacular! You drive in a small 20 passenger boat without any windows or other protection. It took not even five minutes to see the first croc sliding from the riverbank and diving into the water towards us; a scene that could have been taken out of a movie: James Bond being stuck in the middle of a billabong and the crocodiles appear from the riverbank to get their desired feed...
This scenario continues throughout the tour. Some of the crocs follow the boat and every time one comes close the tour guide fixes some meat to a stick. Being able to dive at 20 km/h makes it easy for them to catch up. By pulling the meat up just in the moment when a crocodile is about to snap, the crocodile starts jumping out of the water. We had expected some crocodiles sticking their head out of the water but to see some 3m saltie's body rushing out of the water a metre away is cool. A tiny one (min. 2 metres) jumped completely out of the water. On the return way we spotted a Jabiru, Australia's biggest Storck and fed some kites. The tour was spectacular despite the fact that only females jumped and we didn't see any males that can grow to a length of six metres.
The short trip from Adelaide River to Darwin passes by two interesting natural reserves. In the Windows Of The Wetlands Centre you can learn via nice interactive displays about the surrounding nature. A viewing platform allows you to try to identify and see what you learned about.
In the 1950s the Fogg Dam was build to support the effort to establish rice growing areas. Since the rice project failed a few years later the dam offers a great opportunity for a drive through the wetlands and to spot beautiful birds and some reptiles.
After lunch we visited Darwin's Crocodile Farm where several different crocodile species are hold in captivity. Some of these crocodiles have been saved from their original home where they have been in danger but the biggest chunk is hold for handback production. Due to the latter we were not very convinced to visit but it was strongly recommended. The crocodiles that are lucky enough to be choosen for breeding live in setup billabings that can hold up to hundred of them. These billabongs are setup in a way to reflect on the croc's natural environment. We joined the daily tour where you can observe the daily feeding session. During feeding you get the chance to see the animals moving (which they normally do not do) but it was discusting. After feeding you get taken along the billabongs by a guide to see the remaining crocs, including the white croc Snowy and Burt, the 5 metre star from Crocodile Dundee. It is very interesting to get so close to some of these giant animals and the tour was incredibly informative but we still hate the handbag purposes. Interesting to learn was amongst others that crocodiles get their energy from the sun and do not need food to survive. They can live without any food for up to twelve months. However they are opportunistic hunters and most attacks on animals or humans are reactions to defend their territory.
Back to Darwin we decided to give you this update before heading to the Esplanade for a walk and dinner.
Tomorrow we'll head towards Thailand. After driving nearly 10000 km through lonely Australia - certainly a cultural shock ahead of us...