THE SALTWATER (OR ESTUARINE) crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the world’s largest living reptile species, growing up to 6m long and weighing up to a tonne. Saltwater crocs, or ‘salties’, are also perfectly evolved predators.
When hunting prey, they lie in wait, partially submerged or completely underwater – able to hold their breath for up to an hour by reducing their heart rate to just 2-3 beats per minute. Whilst submerged, special transparent eyelids enable them to see underwater – and, thanks to the forward-orientation of their eyes, salties are experts at judging the distance of unsuspecting prey.
The Saltwater Crocodile in Australia’s Northern Territory is the largest reptile in the world, and has remained one of the deadliest predators for more than 100 million years.
Saltwater Crocodiles are one of the oldest creatures to walk the planet. They first appeared over 240 million years ago, which was during the Mesozoic Era, i.e. the time of the dinosaurs. While others have evolved into different shapes and forms, the crocs stuck have stuck to the same structure for the last 200 million years. Many wonders how the crocodiles survive while the dinosaurs did not, with many theories answering them.
One of the theories is due to their blood, most particularly how they were cold-blooded creatures. Scientists have discovered the majority of dinosaurs were warm-blooded, meaning they had to constantly eat to fuel their metabolisms while they absorbed heat slowly. During the cold and dark conditions following the Yucatan meteor, many warm-blooded creatures did not survive, whereas the crocodiles could withstand. Another theory suggests it was due to them being freshwater creatures, as rivers and lakes were less impacted by the meteor.
Size: L 15cm