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Australian Saltwater Crocodile


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Melting into the Ground

When walking around on creeks and other water edges, a saltwater crocodile lying on land while sunbathing or relaxing will most likely take notice of a human before one gets close and move into the water.

But especially in the vegetation zone of very remote areas where the crocodiles are most likely not aware of human intruders, there is a certain risk of a confrontation between a careless walker and an animal, if the latter is lying some distance away from the waters edge because of the available sunshine.

The animal virtually melts into the surroundings and this can lead into a dangerous situation. One who moves between the waters edge and the animal will put it into  a state of heavy stress that could be fatal for the human intruder. Even a small crocodile in panic could under circumstances snap one’s leg and inflict major injuries by spinning around.    

To create vibrations by stepping strongly, just as doing it when bushwalking in certain situations to give sunbathing snakes an easy chance to flee might help here as well. But the situation could also be different:   As its camouflage works so well, even a very large saltwater crocodile lying somewhere will not automatically be recognised by the human eye, but more likely would be seen as a log or just as nothing but regular ground.                                           

In such a case, the possibility of falling prey can not be ruled out completely. So being very attentive and concentrated is always advisable when moving along remote banks.                                                    

More light will not always be the factor that makes the saltwater crocodile more visible when sunbathing on land - which has a logical sense in the matter of a good camouflage.  The picture above shows a smaller animal while the sun is hidden behind a cloud. It’s blending into the surroundings is already quite good. But as seen in the picture below, the free sunlight after the cloud has moved, allows the crocodile to be even less visible, due to the deeper contrasts of the shadows which are similar to its own natural camouflage.

               Copyright © Steffen Pichler / ZEIS Verlag