All crocodiles are aquatic animals, closely associated with water bodies. But what about honest-to-goodness transoceanic journeys? 'Culling crocodiles doesn't make waters any safer,' he said. Like their Indo-Pacific counterparts, American crocs sometimes meander well outside their established range. Photo: Andrew Paice/Getty Images, Indo-Pacific crocodile distribution â including the range of "wanderer" crocs â based on a map by. Here, inconveniently, they ran into "hundreds of enormous sharks". Image: Nancy Thompson. Since crocodiles are excellent predators, they have managed to live in Africa, Australia, Asia, and Central and North America. Crocodiles are as old as dinosaurs. (A Georgia state biologist noted his agency had "pulled stingray barbs out of the cheeks of 12-foot males".) Thatâs especially true of our planetâs countless wild species: big and small, threatened and persecuted, complex and fascinating. This Egyptian mummy has almost 50 crocodiles inside! Salties are considered at low risk for extinction. His circumnavigation saw the big croc travel more than 255 miles in 19 days. Brutus with a bull shark between its jaws on the Adelaide River in the Kakadu National Park. Where do Crocodiles live? These massive creatures are known by a slew of names, including sea crocodile, Indo-Pacific crocodile, saltie, marine crocodile, and estuarine crocodile.They also have an incredibly wide distribution, as they live in regions from India and Asia, to Australia. If they are unable to do that they will either be killed or be forced out to sea. South Florida crocs have materialized well north up the coasts of the Sunshine State, and even off South Carolina. Studies from places like Florida'sÂ Shark River EstuaryÂ and Sapelo Island off Georgia suggest certain coastal alligators make a tradeoff: they endure the physical hardships of brackish habitatsÂ âÂ plus the workout of shuttling between them and the freshwater havens where theyÂ rechargeÂ âÂ because these spots are such productive hunting grounds. Animal Face-Off-style sensationalism aside, shark-crocodile relations can usually be summarised pretty mundanely: big crocs eat little sharks and big sharks eat little crocs. Saltwater crocs, or "salties," as Australians affectionately refer to them, have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. A number of crocodile species readily reside in brackish habitats, but two are by far most comfortable in marine settings: the American croc and the Indo-Pacific (aka "saltwater") croc. Alligators and caimans are mainly freshwater crocodilians âÂ their lingual glands don't effectively secrete salt. Just a photographer, his camera ... and a 12-foot crocodile. Although these crocodiles spend most of their lives in saltwater, they cannot be considered marine reptiles the same way sea turtles are, because the crocs rely on land for food and water. His name is Terry, and he lives in the largest private collection of reptiles in the Northern Territory, alongside goannas, thorny devils, lizards, geckos and â¦ They tend to be a light tan to a brownish in colour. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996. And in August, a saltie peaceably joined comparably sized lemon sharks circling a boat on a Kimberley river. There are many species of crocodiles, which are found all over the world. The overwhelming majority prefer to settle in small lakes and rivers with a quiet current. When the dinosaurs roamed the earth, â¦ Crocodiles are semi-aquatic and live in wetland areas, freshwater rivers or lakes, or saltwater â residing in estuaries, lagoons, or mangrove swamps, rather than far out at sea.. Crocodiles are characterized by a long and tapered snout. The estuaries and lagoons of the tropics, after all, find the vulnerable young of both creatures overlapping. But perhaps, rarely, certain crocs strike off on pelagic voyages to disperse, riding an ocean gyre to distant shores. Because they are semi-aquatic, they still need access to land where their food sources are found. "[Most are] mid-sized males. These reptiles have been thriving on the planet for quite soâ¦ In some Nubian villages along the Nile River in Egypt, tourists can relish a unique sight. Tiger sharksÂ âÂ which commonly patrol coastal waterwaysÂ âÂ could pose a threat to any croc, given their large size, robust serrated teeth (which can saw through a sea-turtle shell like nobody's business), and up-for-anything predatory habits. In 2010, a "saltie"Â (estimated at some 16 feet long)Â dispatched a good-sized bull shark in Kakadu National Park. In 2014, the 18-foot croc "Brutus"Â âÂ whose missing front leg has sometimes been attributed to shark biteÂ âÂ chomped one in the Adelaide River. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has changed its stance on saltwater crocodiles in the Keys. Crocodile, (order Crocodylia, or Crocodilia), any of 23 species of generally large, ponderous, amphibious animals of lizard-like appearance and carnivorous habit belonging to the reptile order Crocodylia. Saltwater crocodiles are opportunistic feeders that prey on a variety of species, from crabs and fish to birds, turtles, pigs, buffalo and even humans. Crocodiles are found all across the world. In 2015, there were more than a dozen crocodile sightings in less than two months âÂ making surfers in that wave-riding paradise a little nervous. An American crocodile nicknamed "Cletus" is famous for being the only one of his kind to inhabit the waters of the Dry Tortugas, a remote cluster of islands west of Florida's Key West. Just for fun, let's acknowledge here a highly suspect account reported in the October 5, 1877 issue of The Fishing Gazette, which describes essentially an all-out rumble off southeastern Florida between American alligators and an unspecified species of shark. While the dinosaurs failed to survive the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction that occurred 65 million years ago, the crocodiles pulled off the seemingly impossible feat. Crocodilians eating sharks, and vice versa, happens all the time,Â butÂ a considerable size difference between the two is the norm. While they can survive for extended periods of time without food, they still need access to their food. Acoustic tracking has shown that some resident adult crocs in Queensland's Kennedy River make periodic long-distance forays synced with tidal currents: theyÂ coast on the prevailing flow, rest on the riverbed when the tide reverses, and then resume their journeys when the currents turn favourable again. "We assume they are traveling along the coastline to a different river system," suggests one of the researchers, University of Queensland's Craig Franklin. One of these beasts, nearly 16 feet long, was caught in the Wenlock River on the western coast of the peninsula, flown 78 miles overland and released in Temple Bay on the other side. It suggests that crocodiles can compensate for a lack of seafaring expertiseÂ by catching lifts on currents flowing in the direction they want to go. By the way, not all Kimberley crocodiles are dangerous.We have two different species of crocodiles in the Kimberley, freshwater crocodiles and saltwater crocodiles.All the warnings below concern saltwater crocodiles. Possibly they have been displaced by larger males in the river system they came from and are now looking for an alternative to inhabit and breed.". 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. They live in the seas surrounding Australia. Saltwater crocodiles were once present throughout coastal Bangladesh but have since been extirpated from almost all of their former range. Full-grown bull sharks, though outsized by many compatriot crocs, are heavy-jawed bruisers of fish, and likelyÂ don't fall victim to the reptiles muchÂ (except maybe to genuine giants like Brutus). Nevertheless, there are some non-fatal attacks, mainly when it feels threatened.The Salty is the biggest of all crocodiles (up to 6 m!) Since he mysteriously turned up here back in 2003, Cletus has been living in an environment completely devoid of freshwater. Saltwater crocodiles are the largest living reptiles on earth. Crocodiles simply donât live this far south, so itâs safe for you to swim. And yet that's just what the sunbathers of Palancar Beach on the Mexican island of Cozumel experienced in early July of this year: a ten-foot American crocodile sauntered (and, really, that's the best description) through their midst to slip into the Caribbean. The historical range of this biggest living reptile is a vast ocean-dominated kingdom: from the seacoast of southern China (where it was wiped out long ago) and the Sundarbans mangal of India and Bangladesh, south to northern Australia, and from the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the east as far west as the Seychelles, where it was killed off by the early 1800s. Beachgoers in the southeastern US sometimes do a double-take at the sight of a gleaming black alligator in the rollers. In 2010, meanwhile, scuba divers photographed an alligator kicking back 60 feet deep on the sandy seafloor near Breaker's Reef, a mile off Florida's Palm Beach coast. In fact, in some areas, estuarine or marine prey may compose most of the diet of coastal alligators, especially adult males. 2. Because of their name, you may think that the only place they live is in salty water, but the fact is crocodiles can also be found in lakes, marshes, coastal water, and swamps â all the areas where a river flows into the sea. In Sonora, Mexico (where they've vanished), American crocs used to periodically stray northward along the Sea of Cortez's desert shores as far as Tiburon Island. So could, of course, the more massive great white shark, which grows to similar lengths as Indo-Pacific or Nile crocodiles and can substantially outweigh them. Within the Northern Territory, freshwater crocodiles were protected in 1963 and saltwater crocodiles were protected in 1971. The 16-foot croc's Cape York Peninsula circumnavigation spannedÂ 255 miles and took 19 days. The take-home message: Indo-Pacific crocs probably don't go rafting across ocean basins very often, but âÂ given their skill atÂ riding currents and their long-term durability in saltwaterÂ âÂ if they do find themselves out on the high seas, they may well endure long enough to colonise some far-off beach. And that likely explains their sprawling geography. All living crocodilians (yes, including the saltwater crocodile) are freshwater animals. It can measure up to 3 m and is not considered dangerous to humans. The state of Florida is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators live together. It was hunted for its skin throughout its range up to the 1970s, and is threatened by illegal killing and habitat loss. Large numbers of gators allegedly drawn by fish schools were flushed into the ocean by a neap-tide surge. Crocodiles may also use marine habitat for nesting: American crocs in South Florida mostly frequent mangrove swamps, but some females enter Florida Bay off the Everglades National Park coast to lay eggs on remote keys. Locals who discovered itÂ suspected only a big shark could have made the clean cut (if poachers were responsible for the animal'sÂ death, they would presumably have kept the head for its high value). But the crested crocodiles inhabit the marine lagoons and deltas of rivers. The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is a crocodilian native to saltwater habitats and brackish wetlands from India's east coast across Southeast Asia and the Sundaic region to northern Australia and Micronesia. American crocs also have an extensive, mostly coastal dominion, cruisingÂ tidewater rivers, lagoons, mangrove swamps, and offshore cays and atollsÂ from South Florida down to South America's northern Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Crocodiles do not live in the ocean. Classic opportunistic predators, they lurk patiently beneath the surface near the water's edge, waiting for potential prey to stop for a sip of water. Even more impressively, a six- to seven-foot gator circled an oil platform roughly 40 miles off the Louisiana mainland in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. Crocs live in the Sea. It is regarded as dangerous for people who share the same environment. over a coral reef in open coastal waters off Havelock Island, in a corner of the Andaman Islands not previously known for the reptiles. And amidst all the noise, voices get lost and some stories are never heard. It's certainly not unheard of. TheÂ larger ones can even endure short intervals in full-strength seawater.Â. Salt water crocodiles are the largest of all crocodile species. Crocodiles have powerful jaws with many conical teeth and short legs with clawed webbed toes. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea. It's important to note that a crocodile on the high seas is at a disadvantage against a shark, being a far less efficient or energetic swimmer âÂ not to mention that the reptile's ambush-style hunting tactics wouldn't be of much use in this setting. (Franklin's lab continues to track Cape York crocs to learn where they go a'roaming âÂ you can see pictures of tagged crocs and maps of their movements onÂ their website.). What the legend says about crocodiles in Timor Leste? There are two different species of crocodiles in Australia: the freshwater or Johnson and the saltwater or estuarine crocodile.The freshwater lives mainly in freshwater, but it can sometimes be found in marine environments. Without warning, they explode from the water with a thrash of their powerful tails, grasp their victim, and drag it back in, holding it under until the animal drowns. In other words, that Cozumel beach croc was no aberration. Saltwater crocodiles are most commonly found in coastal waters or rivers where they can swim between freshwater and brackish water. He then rounded the peninsula to surf a northerly flow and re-entered the Wenlock. A, and this year the carcass of a 13-foot-long alligator, periodic long-distance forays synced with tidal currents, two neighbouring South Carolina barrier islands, preying on green and loggerhead sea turtles, In an unexpected encounter, photographer shoots the most beautiful crocodile photos we've ever seen. Lately, vagabond Indo-Pacific crocs have increasingly turned up in the Maldives,Â most often during the rains of the Northeast Monsoon. Such tactics save precious energy, and combined with the crocs' large size and marine-adapted physiology, they might allow them toÂ "undertake and survive considerable ocean voyages", the researchers suggest. 1. A handsome 10-footer came ashore at Folly Beach, South Carolina in 2014 (though it ended up shot dead), and this year the carcass of a 13-foot-long alligator washed up on a beach in Galveston, Texas. Fresh water crocodiles are only sometimes found in tidal, saline areas. Since crocodiles live such a long time, and since scientists have not been able to come up with a reliable means of measuring their lifespan accurately, getting a precise reading on how long crocodiles can live is difficult at best. That is, the size can reach 7 to 8 meters and weighs around 200 kilograms. âThe juvenile salt-water crocodile was near to death when the small boy found it stranded in a swamp far from the sea. How long do crocodiles live? So we know these reptiles are capable of long excursions through marine waters âÂ but where are they going? Documented saltwater gator morsels include mullet, blue crabs, yellowtail perch, horseshoe crabs and stingrays. In recent years, a few crocs âÂ likely drifters from Cuba, which has more American crocs than anywhere elseÂ âÂ have reared their snaggletooth heads in the Cayman Islands, which probably once supported their own resident population.Â. Two recent pieces of footage from Australia suggest what's likely more typical interplay between full-grown crocs and sharks. The size of the saltwater crocodile prey is only limited by the crocodiles own size and strength. There are crocodiles in lots of countries in Africa such as Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, and more. While "surf gators" are usually fairly small âÂ maybe young animals overpowered by outgoing tides or booted by adults from coastal territory âÂ some aren't. Itâs possible that some saltwater crocodiles may live for over a century, but this has never been verified in the wild. While walking along the beach in western India, a local stumbled upon an unusual visitor in the surf: a large crocodile. These crocodiles, living in Australia and Oceania, often swim wide sea bays and straits between the islands. Image: Folly Beach Department of Public Safety. Many homes in such villages keep Nile crocodiles as pets. A number of gators, for instance, were captured this year in the breakers along two neighbouring South Carolina barrier islands. Everyone thinks that the danger of a shark is most important in the sea, and only a few know for sure that they are terrible in the sea and Crocodiles. Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark, A saltwater crocodile photographed at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/s/saltwater-crocodile.html. As croc expert Adam Britton's website nicely lays out, this formidable beast has turned up in many far-flung locations befitting an ocean wanderer. One 2,500-year-old crocodile mummy. Upon his arrival, the current through the Torres Strait (which separates the Cape York from New Guinea) was flowing west to east, so the croc lingered here for three days until itÂ reversed. The resulting photos are pretty spectacular. 5. but also thâ¦ A huge shark and crocodile gnashing it out? Saltwater crocodiles have long lifespans, with many living to more than 65 years, longer than any other crocodile species. 'If you kill 10 crocs in a river do you think people are still going to swim there? And hey âÂ what happens when a high-seas traveller of a crocodile meets a big shark? Most Indo-Pacific crocs probably restrict themselves to coastal cruising, and the few that end up far offshore may have simply been swept there by accident. One told a biologist investigating the sighting that he'd seen an offshore alligator only once before, maybe 16 miles out in the Gulf, but none of the others had ever observed one. So what do we know about the seafaring tendencies of crocodiles? Take your passion further by supporting and driving more of the nature news you know and love. The southern state is home to the American crocodile and American alligator. These crocodiles usually live upstream to the sea. Even the saltwater crocodile requires freshwater habitat to breed and spends the bulk of its time in brackish estuaries and freshwater swamps. Location is Important. There are also crocodiles in Australia, and in parts of South America like Venezuela. Saltwater crocodiles are highly found in the United States. 6. Floods and tidal surgesÂ âÂ and perhaps the spirit of adventure âÂ may pull gators from coastal rivers or inlets even farther from the mainland. Juvenile crocodiles are captured and encaged by the village folk. "Predators generally don't mess with each other because the risk of a serious injury usually isn't worth it," notes Britton. Unlike alligators or caimans, crocodiles have functional lingual salt glands for expelling sodium chloride and a fairly impermeable lining to their inner mouth, which makes them inherently hardier than their relatives in seawater. Two species of crocodiles are considered man-eaters the â Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). The historical record even shows vagrant crocs off Japan: in the Ryukyu and Ogasawara archipelagos, and, farther north still, in Honshu's Toyama Bay. "At sea, you have no visual point of reference, but we know that crocodiles can navigate using non-visual references âÂ magnetic fields being one âÂ so they may be able to detect when they're in a current out at sea," suggestsÂ Britton. You can however see a live crocodile at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre . Crocodiles which can only be found in East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan. Heâs fascinated by natural history of all stripes, with special interests in landscape ecology, historical ecology, biogeography and wilderness. Photographer Trevor Frost and filmmaker Melissa Lesh set out to capture photos and videos of saltwater crocodiles that no one has seen before— the dinner's-eye view. An alligator seen on South Carolina's Myrtle Beach earlier this year. Forty-seven tiny secrets. Nile Crocodiles Kept As Pets In Egypt's Nubian Village. Saltwater crocodiles are clever. And what to make of other reports from this year, of multiple alligators turning up in the surf along the southeastern United States? A crocodile killed at Ailinglaplap Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 2004 was some 1,200 miles from the nearest known population. Research from the Cape York Peninsula in northeastern Australia, a global strongholdÂ for the Indo-Pacific crocodile, has offered intriguing clues on how this reptile might have come to occupy such a gigantic and briny jurisdiction. They have to find an unoccupied territory for themselves. In some areas, estuarine or marine prey like crabs, stingrays and sea turtles may compose most of the diet of coastal alligators. Our planet is a busy, crazy place. They've been found encrusted with barnacles, and spotted munching sea turtles at nesting beaches and pelicans offshore. Saltwater crocodiles can live more than 70 years. The trio of reptiles all returned to the locations of their capture âÂ demonstrating both their homing ability and the limitations of translocation. The shark pups of mangrove nurseries make easy meals for crocodiles, and hatchling and subadult crocs are appealing morsels for river-cruising sharks. On August 24, 2014, a man and a woman were swimming in a canal in Gables by the Sea, a community in Coral Gables, Florida, at 02:00, in a canal where crocodiles were known to occur, when they were bitten in the shoulder and the hand by an American crocodile. In a world bursting with news, nature is our niche â and we love it that way. There are 14 species of crocodiles, which vary in lifespan between 35 â 75 years, and considerably in size. Photos: Large crocodile takes a stroll on the beach in western India. Crocodiles in large iron cages can be seen in the village homes. Crocs from the Lower Florida Keys occasionally make deepwater crossings out to the remote Dry Tortugas. Mangled carcassesÂ âÂ headless gators, sharks "nearly bitten in two"Â âÂ washed ashore for miles up the coast, attracting hordes of vultures. And any good-sized crocodilian can survive a long while without drinking freshwater by satisfying its needs via food and metabolic action. Given their taste for nesting sea turtles and their habit of bee-lining for certain fish runs, it's also likely that full-grown adults sometimes use the ocean as a "highway" to commute between river mouths or turtle rookeries. Crocodiles usually live near salty water. These reptiles are found not only in the freshwater reservoirs of the tropics. "But there are always exceptions.". There are records of white sharks preying on adult American crocodiles in the Columbian Caribbean. A bloody surf skirmish followed, according to a shore-bound witness, who saw "sharks and alligators rise on the crest of the waves and fight like dogs". Still, we do know that Indo-Pacific crocs in Australia's Northern Territory are opportunistic shark-eaters. For our growing team of writers and contributors, those are the stories that matter most: we dedicate our time to them all day and every day. 7. Some representatives of toothy giants can live in salt water. But American alligators regularly inhabit brackish waters in estuaries, mangrove swamps and saltmarshes. Follow him @CutoffMountain. More resilient in marine settings âÂ and maybe more adept at negotiating tidal currents and wave chop â suchÂ big gators might find rich pickings on sorties into seawater. The odd shark fin, sure, but you don't necessarily expect to see a crocodile at the seashore. All rights reserved. But saltwater croc hides are valued above all other crocodilians, and illegal hunting, habitat loss, and antipathy toward the species because of its reputation as a man-eater continue to put pressure on the population. Another study tested the effectiveness of translocating "problem" crocodiles by trapping three large males on the Cape York Peninsula, rigging them with satellite transmitters and helicoptering them to release sites. While "surf gators" are usually fairly small âÂ maybe young animals overpowered by outgoing tides or booted by adults from coastal territory âÂ some aren't. Recent deluges in the Altamaha River basin may have carried this gator out to sea: the observers noted marsh wrack and other debris near the reptile. Average-size males reach 17 feet and 1,000 pounds, but specimens 23 feet long and weighing 2,200 pounds are not uncommon. There are also records of Florida alligators preying on green and loggerhead sea turtles. These west African, C. suchus-type crocodiles were first mentioned by French explorer Henri Duveyrier in 1858 following his discovery of crocodile tracks in the Sahara, and live â¦ Nerve-wracking as the sight might have been, the incident turned out far better than one in Queensland's Daintree National Park back in May, when a large Indo-Pacific crocodile snatched a woman from the shallows off Thornton Beach. VIEW more from this CONTRIBUTOR. One large individualÂ hooked in Indonesia had consumed a 6Â½-foot crocodile. The oil workers who spotted the seafaring beast wondered whether it was seeking a haul-out to rest. In fact, oneÂ study revealed that South Florida crocodiles have a diet of 65 percent marine prey âÂ and suggested the animals "may be capable of being ecologically isolated from freshwater ecosystems". Earthâs largest living crocodilianâand, some say, the animal most likely to eat a humanâis the saltwater or estuarine crocodile. At their largest, these saltwater crocodiles can grow up to 23 feet long! When mulling crocodilians in marine habitats, it doesn't take long for the thought of sharks to cross the mind. Image: This 10ftÂ alligator turned up in the surf on Folly Beach in South Carolina back in 2014. After chilling on the shore a few months, the croc hopped a northbound nearshore current and rode it to the tip of the peninsula in eight days. Lemon sharks, on the other hand, appear to avoid the chemical traces of American crocodiles in the water.Â. Then there's the sizeable decapitated Nile crocodile head found on a South African beach in 2013. (CNN) â A new study has found that ancient crocodiles once lived in the oceans much like whales and dolphins. You, our viewers, are passionate about these stories we tell. That Indo-Pacific crocodiles are occasional mariners is well established.