Crocodiles of Cobbold Gorge

Never smile at a crocodile, don’t be taken in by his welcome grin – or so the song goes …

When you visit Cobbold Gorge, you might have the good fortune to spot a croc on your Gorge Tour, as there’s a large population of them living happily in the gorge, thanks to its permanent water supply and stock of native fish. Our Cobbold Gorge’s crocodiles are freshwater crocodiles (‘freshies’), also called Johnstone River Crocodiles or Crocodylus johnstoni. You’ll sometimes see them when standing on the escarpment above, or on the glass bridge looking down into the gorge. Instantly recognisable with their distinctive crocodilian shape, Cobbold Gorge’s crocodiles have a slender snout and sharp teeth.

And if you’re after some ‘fun facts’ on our Cobbold Gorge freshies – then read on!

The males can grow up to 1.5m long and weigh on average about 70kg, while the 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, as 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 – a veritable smorgasbord for our Cobbold Gorge crocs who 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’s crocs are Johnstone River Crocodiles Crocodylus johnstoni, sometimes called ‘Freshies’.

Even though the region doesn’t experience much rain during the ‘dry’ season (April to October) – Cobbold Gorge is fed by several springs which keeps its water at a constant level all year. This allows boat trips to continue while we’re open (April to October) and provides our Cobbold Gorge crocodiles with a happy and healthy environment to flourish. Reproduction occurs during the dry season, and at this time (generally between August and September) – the females’ nest in holes that are exposed on sand banks, while the egg laying generally occurs at night.

Johnstone River Crocodiles are endemic to northern Australia, and 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 they’re included 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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