Crocodiles in Whitsundays

I have never seen a crocodile sunning itself on Airlie Beach. Nor have I ever seen a crocodile swimming in Airlie Beach lagoon. Crocodiles in swimming pools seem more a feature of Darwin and the Northern Territory. Adult saltwater crocodiles are five metres long, and weigh nearly 800 kilograms. Krys, an 8.63 metre crocodile was reported shot by Krystina Pawloski near Normanton, Queensland in July 1957.

However you can take a crocodile safari from Airlie Beach to see crocodiles on the banks of nearby rivers. Indeed, one crocodile was stranded on Glen Isla Road, Proserpine in July 2008. It was basically sick, having been stranded when its water supply ran out.

A saltwater crocodile was sighted at Coral Beach, near Shute Harbour at lunchtime on Sunday, 14 September 2008. Local newspapers said locals were also warning people at Snow's Beach, in the same area. EPA have put up a temporary warning sign, as the walking track crosses estuarine areas.

A saltwater crocodile was sighted in Muddy Bay in October 2008, near the newly delivered beach, by Port of Airlie environment officer Dan Blunt, according to The Whitsunday Times on 16 October 2008. The crocodile was reported to have swum towards the boat. A crocodile warning sign has now been put in the Muddy Bay area of Airlie Beach.

A crocodile 100 metres from shore was sighted by a fisherman at Cannonvale, near the VMR building, in mid May 2009.

Crocodile Victims

Crocodiles are mainly ambush predators, and prefer hunting when dark. Being amphibious, they tend to wait underwater near trails where animals enter water to drink. Statistics for human deaths from saltwater crocodiles seems to indicate most attacks happen at night, when humans enter water while drunk. This indicates estuarine crocodiles tend to prefer pickled people for a night time snack. You might try to remember this while heading home from the pub, if near water.

Backpackers attending foam parties at night at Magnums pub tend to plunge into Airlie Beach lagoon while drunk, at night. There is no solid evidence that any crocodiles swim in Airlie Beach lagoon at night. Although since the life guards are not present, there is no actual sober observation of the lagoon at night. Does a crocodile swim in the Airlie Beach lagoon if there is no-one there to see it? However there remains the risk of drowning in Airlie Beach lagoon.

Human remains of Logan area retired holidaymaker Arthur Booker were found in a 4.5 metre crocodile in the Endeavor River near Cooktown, far north Queensland in September 2008. Searchers had previously found only Mr Booker's watch and a pair of sandals near where he was setting crab pots. Don't think crocodiles are not dangerous.

Dealing with Crocodiles

Crocodiles are a protected species in Australia, so if one bites you, try not to hurt it in your struggles to get away before it does a death roll and pulls your limb from your body. If you do lose a limb to a crocodile but somehow escape, do not enter the water to retrieve the missing limb. In particular, do not attempt to beat the crocodile to death if you do recover the missing limb. There are usually no more that a few human fatalities in Australia from crocodile attack each year.

Visitors should also be warned that in this area, the ABC report that some people keep crocodiles as pets, and take them to the pub and on car trips. This despite having their arm ripped off by the pet. The unfortunate owner was Alf Casey, the crocodile is called Charlene.

More crocodile stories from newspapers at the AussieYobbo web site.

Crocodiles vs Sharks

One really good thing is that crocodiles catch and eat sharks. More photos of crocodile catching shark on Blogger. This is probably really helping keep down the number of sharks at Airlie Beach.