Cobbold Gorge’s crocodiles are freshwater crocodiles, called Johnstone River Crocodiles Crocodylus johnstoni. There’s a large population of them living happily in Cobbold Gorge, thanks to its permanent water supply and stock of native fish. Gorge tour guests can sometimes see them, when standing on the escarpment above and looking down into the gorge. Instantly recognisable with their distinctive crocodilian shape, Cobbold Gorge’s crocodiles have a slender snout and sharp teeth.
The males can grow up to 1.5m long and on average, weigh about 70kg. Females are slightly smaller in length and weight. Their colour ranges from grey to tan-brown and their hind legs are larger and longer than their front legs. Their diet consists of fish, birds, bats, reptiles and amphibians, which is probably why they thrive in Cobbold Gorge. The gorge has a good stock of a variety of freshwater fish species, including but not limited to archer fish, banded grunter, eel-tailed catfish, sleepy cod and black bream. It’s also home to freshwater prawns, red claw yabbies, turtles, insects and five species of native frogs. The Cobbold Gorge crocodiles wait patiently for their smaller prey in the water, snapping at food in a sideways motion, which is then swallowed whole, without chewing.
Cobbold Gorge is fed by several springs, which keeps its water at a constant level all year. This allows boat trips to continue even in the ‘dry’, and provides the Cobbold Gorge crocodiles with a happy and healthy environment in which they thrive. Reproduction occurs during the dry season, which is when Cobbold Gorge Tours and Village is open. At this time, generally between August and September, the females’ nest in holes that are exposed on sand banks. Egg laying generally occurs at night.
Johnstone River Crocodiles are endemic to northern Australia. Unlike their larger and more aggressive saltwater cousins, the freshwater crocodiles are generally considered harmless to humans. Of course, they should still be treated with respect. At Cobbold Gorge Tours and Village, we love our resident crocodiles, which is why we have included them in our logo. So, if you happen to see one during your tour, it’s OK to smile at these crocodiles.
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