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Roadtrip Australia: Van-Tastic Northern Territory - WILLIE & ANDREW Americans Willie and Andrew embark on the ultimate Aussie roadtrip as they motor around Northern Territory with Van-Tastic Adventures for six action-packed, free-wheeling weeks of adventure.

A LOAD OF CROC

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 29 April 2010 | Views [1513] | Comments [2]

Perfectly evolved.

This is how the saltwater crocodile has been described to us. A mean, intimidating, snaggle-toothed killing machine that’s older than the dinosaurs. That could compete with the dinosaurs for territory, even.

A creature whose jaw is twice as powerful as that of the T-Rex.

A beast that never stops growing, and tends to reach at least twenty feet long. Yes, that’s right – top to bottom, at least three humans could fit inside it.

And this is one of the most common animals in the Northern Territory?! What in the what?!

They’re not hard to stumble upon, either. Willie and I have seen so many wild crocodiles in the past two weeks that we’ve literally lost count. Thankfully, we’ve seen most of them from the safe interior of a cruise boat.

The croc has very quickly become one of my favorite animals, if only because of the amount of fear and respect it demands. They can hold their breath for hours underwater, so that if they pull you under they can simply keep you there and drown you. They have a sixth sense, which allows them to read electrical frequencies in your spine so that they can always pinpoint your location.

These things are terrifying!

But they’ve also subverted some of my expectations. They’re incredibly lazy, for instance. Some of the crocodiles in Kakadu are so lazy that they simply sit at river junctions with their mouths open and wait for fish to swim straight into their open jaw. Sometimes so reliably that the same crocodiles can be found at the same junctions day after day after day. Sometimes they don’t even bother attacking – as Willie and I found out when we swam with four live crocodiles.

This was in a controlled environment, of course. Crocosaurus Cove, in the heart of Darwin. We slipped into a giant cage and were dropped into tanks with the crocodiles. And even with live bait only inches away from them, they didn’t move.

Which was still terrifying.

We were only inches away from its massive jaw, able to see every snaggled and crooked tooth. Its feet were as big as our head – those that had them. One crocodile, Chopper, had lost both of his front feet in territorial battles years before he found his way to Crocosaurus Cove; they were simply stubs.

We also went to the Adelaide River and went on a Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. There, employees held raw meat out over a boat and crocodiles came flocking toward it. They would slink through the water, spot the chicken, and then leap up for it – sometimes coming so far out of the water that it seemed their whole body was exposed. Terrifying, electrifying, and enough to keep me in only the largest of boats when checking out crocodile-infested waters.

It should be mentioned, also, that the crocodiles wander all over the territory, so most swimming holes don’t allow visitors to swim in them. There are certain areas the croc can’t access, however – they’re terrible climbers and can’t go up waterfalls or rocky areas. So the swimming areas in the NT tend to be rockholes and waterfalls. They’re gorgeous and amazing and totally worth checking out – Lichtfield’s Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole especially.

by Andrew Adams

Tags: andrew adams, crocodiles, crocosaurus cove, darwin, northern territory, swimming with crocodiles, vantastic

Comments

1

That crocodile can probably fit five of me..how scary, but definitely bad ass. Its cool how they can read a person electrical frequencies. I love the picture of you two in the tank i had to stare at it for a while to realize how crazy you are! lol Hope you're enjoying every second.

  Maria Corrales May 2, 2010 1:31 AM

2

the water holes (croc-less ones) sound amazing!
I absolutely love how dinosaur-like crocodiles are but they also give me the willies.
not the Concepcion kind

  Morgan May 10, 2010 11:25 AM

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