• Martha Iserman

Crikey It's A Croc!

How's everyone doing? Anything going on? Nothing new? Ok cool... let's move on then...

If the world is ending, at least I finished my Australian Animals series. That means today we're going to talk about another icon from Down Under, the saltwater crocodile.

This reptile is why you don't go swimming in northern Australia. Though they're called 'saltwater' crocodiles (or Salties if you're Aussie), they can be found in both fresh and saltwater, in swamps, rivers, estuaries, and even far out to sea!

Not just under pirate ships.

They are the largest living reptile with the average male growing to 1,000lbs and 17 feet long. It's actually not hard to find crocs that have reached 23 feet long and 2,200lbs!

I know...Crikey...

These big boys are also old. Dinosaur old. They first appeared during the Mesozoic Era 240 million years ago and have remained mostly unchanged. Salties are a great example of "if it ain't broke don't fix it". This is because they are a perfectly designed predator.

Except for this one. He kinda sucks.

Opportunistic and efficient, they wait patiently under the surface of the water near the shore and will attack any animal that comes near. They will literally eat anything. Fish, wild boar, water buffalos, livestock, sharks, chalupas and even humans! Their tail propels them out of the water, launching their truly terrifying jaws at their unsuspecting prey. With around 64-68 large sharp teeth, they can bite down with 350,000 pounds of pressure per square inch for a 17 footer. That's the greatest bite pressure measured in any living animal!

The mortal enemy of watermelons everywhere

They're also super fast. They can swim up to 20km/hour and run on land in short bursts at 17km/hour.

There's a myth that when being chased by a croc you should run in a zig zag pattern. Since crocs don't usually chase people on land, and since you're still most likely faster than the reptile, and since the shortest distance between the croc and away from the croc is a straight line, you should probably just run.

Or you can carpool

There is also a myth that crocs can't bite underwater, because their mouths will fill with water (which is absolutely not true) and if that somehow makes you feel better about swimming off the boat this spring break that's on you.

I don't know why people are telling crocodile myths that can potentially get people eaten, but it feels very on-brand for Australia.

You do you boo

Once you've been chomped, the croc will execute it's trademark "death roll", using its powerful tail to rapidly spin it's body underwater with you in its jaws to help remove limbs for easier munching.

Just like this

So you've been eaten by a crocodile. At least you can appreciate that they are no longer endangered! Back in the day, crocodile hunting was a fun sport in Australia and they were almost taken out completely until they became protected in the 1970s. Now there are 150,000- 200,000 in Australia and they seem to be doing pretty well. Unfortunately, that does mean there are at least a couple of human fatalities due to Salties each year, but if you follow my advice and never go outside you should be fine.

Hey! I guess our current global pandemic advice is applicable to crocodile avoidance as well! See, I'm helping!

The mighty Saltwater Crocodile -Enforcer of Quarantines

So happy social distancing everyone! It's a great time to get artwork done, so stay tuned for more from Big Red Sharks. I'm really excited to share some of the new projects I'm planning with you!

Happy apocalypse! Stay healthy :)

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