The saltwater crocodile is the world’s largest species of crocodile. These huge reptiles can grow over 6 metres long. Saltwater crocodiles are top of the food chain wherever they are found, and sometimes even attack humans! This page contains Saltwater Crocodile facts for kids, and is part of our Australian Animals series.
- You can find out more about reptiles here: Reptiles: The Ultimate Guide
Top Saltwater Crocodile Facts For Kids
- Saltwater Crocodiles are the largest species of crocodile.
- They’re also the largest species of reptile!
- Saltwater Crocodiles have 66 teeth.
- Saltwater Crocodiles are found in India, Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
- Most people would be able to outrun a crocodile on land, but Saltwater Crocodiles can swim much faster than humans.
- You can tell the difference between a crocodile and an alligator by looking at their teeth (not too closely!) when their jaws are closed. You will be able to see teeth from both the upper and lower jaws of a crocodile sticking outside of its mouth. Only teeth growing down from the top jaw are visible when an alligator closes its mouth. (See the picture of a crocodile’s jaws further down the page.)
- Saltwater Crocodiles can travel over 1,000 km by sea.
- The East, West and South Alligator Rivers in Australia’s Northern Territory were misnamed: early explorers who saw the Saltwater Crocodiles there thought they were alligators.
- A Saltwater Crocodiles brain is the size of a walnut. Despite this, a Saltwater Crocodile is smarter than most other reptiles.
- The Saltwater Crocodile has the strongest bite of any living animal. However, the muscles that open its mouth are relatively weak.
Saltwater Crocodile Video
You can see just how fierce a Saltwater Crocodile can be in the video below. The cameraman almost runs away at one point!
Saltwater Crocodile Information
The Saltwater Crocodile is also known as the Estuarine or Indo-Pacific Crocodile. In Australia it is commonly referred to as a ‘Saltie’.
The saltwater crocodile’s scientific name is Crocodylus porosus.
There are currently 15 recognised species of crocodile. The saltwater crocodile is the longest and heaviest … and also the most aggressive!
Crocodiles, together with alligators and gharials, are in the order ‘Crocodilia’. (An ‘order’ is a group of related animals.)
Crocodilians (animals in the order Crocodilia) have been on the Earth for millions of years.
Crocodiles are more closely related to birds and dinosaurs than to other reptiles. If you want to see the past then look at a crocodile: they haven’t changed much for 80 million years.
Early members of the crocodile family lived over 200 million years ago.
What Does A Saltwater Crocodile Look Like?
Saltwater crocodiles are not just the biggest species of crocodile; they’re also the biggest species of reptile.
Most Saltwater Crocodiles are around 5 metres (16 ft) long, and weigh around 450 kilograms (990 lbs). However, larger specimens can grow to around 7 metres (23 ft) long.
Female saltwater crocodiles are smaller, around 3 m (10 ft) in length.
Like all crocodiles, Saltwater Crocodiles are long, heavily armoured animals. The Saltwater Crocodile’s eyes, nose and ears are all positioned on the top of its head. This means it can stay underwater with only the top of its head showing.
Baby saltwater crocodiles are a pale yellow-green, with black stripes and spots. As they get older, the crocodiles become much darker, and are less marked.
How Fast Can Saltwater Crocodiles Run And Swim?
Have you ever been told that a crocodile would be able to outrun you on the land?
Although Saltwater Crocodiles have short legs they are still able to run up to 8.7 mph (14 km/h) over short distances.
However, most adult humans could outrun a Saltwater Crocodile.
Oh, and run in a straight line, too. Zig-zagging won’t help.
You can forget about out-swimming a Saltwater Crocodile, though. Saltwater Crocodiles can swim at speeds of up to 29km/h (18 mph) over a short distance. When swimming, their limbs do very little. It’s the big tail that propels the Saltwater Crocodile through the water.
This is why you need to be careful getting too close to the water’s edge when there are crocodiles about. Although you could outrun it over open ground, in the slippery conditions near the water it’s the saltie that has the advantage.
It uses its tail and legs to ‘explode’ out of the water and grab its victim before it has time to react.
Where Are Saltwater Crocodiles Found?
The saltwater crocodile is found in India, Southeast Asia and Australia. Countries with Saltwater Crocodile populations include India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, the island of New Guinea and Australia.
In Australia, ‘salties’ are found in the northern parts of Western Australia and the Northern Territories, and in North and East Queensland.
There are between 100,000 and 200,000 Saltwater Crocodiles in Australia. The only other species of crocodile in Australia is the Freshwater Crocodile. In some areas both species are found.
Saltwater Crocodile Facts For Kids: Habitat
Despite their name, Saltwater Crocodiles can live in freshwater as well as salt water. They are found in rivers, swamps and mangrove forests in coastal areas. Take care if you are near a billabong in Australia: they’re favourite Saltwater Crocodile haunts.
(A ‘billabong’ is an Australian word for a pool or small lake that has been left after a river changes course.)
Saltwater Crocodiles will move around over the year. In the dry season, they will move closer to the coast. Being a territorial species, larger male Saltwater Crocodiles will drive smaller males away from the best areas.
Saltwater Crocodiles are capable of swimming long distances and have been found far out at sea.
Behaviour: Hunting & Prey
See how the crocodile approaches this food. It is virtually silent as it moves through the water.
The Saltwater Crocodile is an ambush hunter. It remains hidden under the water until its victim is very close. The crocodile will the ‘explode’ out of the water before the victim has a chance to react.
The Saltwater Crocodile’s jaws are incredibly strong, giving the prey little chance of escaping. In fact, Saltwater Crocodiles have the strongest bite force of any animal alive today.
Smaller animals are swallowed whole. Larger animals are dragged under the water. The Saltwater Crocodile may perform its famous ‘death roll’ to drag its victim under the water and subdue it.
Saltwater Crocodiles have a very varied diet. Pretty much any animal that ventures into Saltwater Crocodile territory is potential prey. Saltwater Crocodiles will eat crustaceans, fish, mammals, birds and reptiles – including other crocodiles.
Although larger crocodiles are able to take larger prey – including animals as large as buffalo – they will still eat smaller animals.
Smaller crocodiles are able to take prey that weighs well over half of their body weight.
Saltwater Crocodile Nests & Eggs
Saltwater Crocodile nests are simply piles of mud and vegetation. They are usually situated on riverbanks or near the water in swamps. Female Saltwater Crocodiles usually lay one brood of eggs each year, in the rainy season. Around 40 to 60 eggs are laid and covered in the nest.
The female Saltwater Crocodile guards the nest from egg-thieving animals. When the eggs hatch, she will carry the hatchlings to the water in her jaws.
Saltwater Crocodile Facts For Kids Conclusion
We hope that you have enjoyed reading these Saltwater Crocodile facts for kids. The size, ferocity and incredible bite strength of these apex predators make them a truly awesome animal. From more information about amazing Australian animals, visit page: Australian Animals.