Crikey! What more apt catchphrase could there be to describe both our salt and freshwater crocodiles?

Can a single word be a catchphrase? If so, then the late great Steve Irwin pretty much single-handedly raised (or re-raised, if you count Crocodile Dundee) the worldwide awareness of Australia’s crocodiles with one word: Crikey. And what more apt catchphrase could there be to describe both our salt and freshwater crocs?

Salties are the world’s largest reptile, and freshwater crocs are found only in Australia. Salties remain in dwindling numbers in parts of Southeast Asia, but for high concentrations of these colossal prehistoric beauties, Australia is unsurpassed. Crikey indeed.

Salties can grow to seven metres (averaging around four), with freshies chiming in at a diminutive three metres and around 70kg. Larger salties have been known to exceed one tonne, but a five-metre adult is roughly half that. It’s estimated there are up to 150,000 salties in Australia’s northern states, and the NT’s vast Mary River system, Australia’s most diverse ecosystem, is home to the largest concentration of the beasts in the world. Interestingly, the Mary River wetlands were also once home to Rodney Ansell, the colourful character who provided the inspiration for Mick Dundee from Crocodile Dundee.

Where // Throughout the swamps, creeks, rivers, wetlands and billabongs of northern Australia. Check out or

Did you know? // The name “crocodile” is from the Greek krokodeilos, meaning “pebble worm”, a reference to the apex predators’ texture and appearance. And did you also know that “apex predator” is a cool phrase to use at dinner parties? Try it some time.


Enjoy this article?

You can find it in Issue 20 along with
loads of other great stories and tips.