Fun Saltwater Crocodile Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 28, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Saltwater crocodile facts are all about the carnivorous reptile.

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest living crocodilian in the world. With a vast geographical range that spans from the brackish and freshwater regions of Southeast Asia and eastern India to the coastal waters of Northern Australia, the saltwater crocodiles are apex predators and are hypercarnivores (diet comprises more than 70% meat).

There are about 24 documented species of crocodiles in the world at present, and the saltwater crocodile is one of them. Known for their massive size both in terms of length and body mass, these crocodiles are dreadful predators throughout.

They are capable of eating almost any animal that appears in their territory and even attack terrestrial animals like mammals and birds. Even though they are named for their ability to survive in extreme salty waters of the sea, they mostly live near the coast where the water is typically brackish.

Want to know more about the world's largest crocodiles? Then read on!

If you like reading about saltwater crocodiles, you may also enjoy reading fun and interesting facts about wildlife such as the Gila monster and thorny devil.

Saltwater Crocodile Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a saltwater crocodile?

The saltwater crocodile is a crocodilian species mostly residing in brackish waters.

What class of animal does a saltwater crocodile belong to?

A saltwater crocodile belongs to the class Reptilia, that is, they are reptiles.

How many saltwater crocodiles are there in the world?

Even though there is no concrete data regarding the number of saltwater crocodiles in the world, estimates suggest that there could be more than 200,000 of them in the wild.

Where does a saltwater crocodile live?

The saltwater crocodile habitat spans throughout the coastal areas of northern Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and several regions of Southeast Asia including those in New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Palau.

These Australian saltwater crocodile habitats also include the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the eastern coast of India, especially in the Sundarbans and the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary of Odisha.

What is a saltwater crocodile's habitat?

The saltwater crocodiles are highly tolerant towards salinity and are typically found in coastal waters and river deltas. They may also be found in brackish mangrove swamps, freshwater areas, and billabongs (Australian term for an oxbow lake). However, saltwater crocodiles move between habitats, particularly in the wet season. Breeding and raising of juveniles usually take place in freshwater rivers.

Who do saltwater crocodiles live with?

Most crocodilians are known to be social animals that share food and basking spots. However, the saltwater crocodiles are very territorial and do not like to tolerate other members or even their own species. An adult male saltwater crocodile may share its territory with a female but will usually drive away any rival male of the species.

How long does a saltwater crocodile live?

Saltwater crocodiles typically have a very long lifespan that can go up to almost 70 years or even more.

How do they reproduce?

Female saltwater crocodiles reach sexual maturity at about 12-14 years of age and the males do so when they are about 16 years old. Saltwater crocodiles breed during the wet season, between the months of November and March.

Despite being native to saline waters, these Australian saltwater reptiles breed in freshwater areas. The males typically demarcate their own territory and ward off any rival males that try to trespass.

Like other crocodilian species, the saltwater crocodiles are oviparous, meaning that they are egg-laying animals. A female usually lays between 40-90 eggs that are placed in elevated nests and buried to protect from the floodwaters.

Incubation period averages around 90 days, after which, the eggs hatch.

The females exhibit a striking level of maternal care for the young saltwater crocodiles, carrying the offspring to the water's edge in her mouth and taking care of them until they learn to swim independently.

The females are even known to unearth the eggs on hearing the 'chirping' call from the hatchlings and may even gently roll the eggs in its mouth to help in the hatching process.

What is their conservation status?

The saltwater crocodiles fall under the Least Concern category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Saltwater Crocodile Fun Facts

What do saltwater crocodiles look like?

The saltwater crocodiles have oval scales all over their body and the scutes are smaller than those in other crocodilian species. The young saltwater crocodiles have a pale yellow body color with black spots and stripes.

As they mature into adults, the body color changes into a darker shade of green with gray or light tan areas. The underside of these crocodiles is white or yellow with stripes that do not extend into the belly. The tails are gray in color with dark bands.

The snout of saltwater crocodiles is much wider than most other crocodilian species and is characterized by a pair of ridges in the center that runs up to the eyes. These animals have a powerful and heavy set jaw with as many as 68 teeth. The females are much smaller than the males.

Saltwater crocodiles are formidable predators.

How cute are they?

Saltwater crocodiles are far from cute. The giant saltwater crocodile is not just massive but quite ferocious with its super powerful jaws and sharp teeth.

How do they communicate?

The saltwater crocodiles use characteristic 'barks' to communicate with their own kind.

In fact, these animals are known to have four different types of calls - the 'threat call' is a coughing or hissing sound that the crocodiles make at any potential encroacher, the high-pitched 'distress call' is what the juveniles perform and comprises short barks, the 'hatching call' is made by the hatchlings and it consists of a single, short, and high-toned bark, and lastly, the 'courtship bellow' is a long and low growl that is typical of the breeding period.

How big is a saltwater crocodile?

The saltwater crocodiles are the largest species of crocodilians. The males usually range in size between 19.7-23 ft (6-7 m) and the females are much smaller, usually not exceeding 9.8 ft (3 m). The saltwater crocodile size is almost twice as big as the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus).

How fast can a saltwater crocodile swim?

Saltwater crocodiles have a swimming speed of around 15-18 mph (24-29 kph). However, they can swim so fast only in short bursts. But when these crocodiles cruise around lazily, they travel at around 2-3 mph (3-5 kph).

How much does a saltwater crocodile weigh?

An adult saltwater crocodile weight ranges between 2202.6-2643.2 lb (1000-1200 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female saltwater crocodiles do not have any distinct names.

What would you call a baby saltwater crocodile?

Baby saltwater crocodiles are usually referred to as hatchlings.

What do they eat?

The saltwater crocodiles are carnivorous and can prey on almost anything. The young ones mostly prey on smaller animals such as small fish, reptiles, crustaceans, amphibians, and insects.

In contrast, the adults prey on larger animals such as the wild boar, water buffalo, birds, monkeys, turtles, snakes, and mud crabs. Small preys are swallowed whole and the larger ones are dragged into the water, drowned, and crushed to death. When underwater, the prey is torn into smaller pieces.

The crocodiles either spin around or jerk the head to tear off chunks of meat off the prey. Sometimes, the crocodiles may also store the kill for later feeding.

Are they dangerous?

Along with the Nile crocodile, the saltwater crocodile has a reputation for being one of the deadliest predators among all wildlife. They are very aggressive and the saltwater crocodile attack is responsible for a vast majority of human casualties.

Saltwater crocodiles are skilled ambush predators and employ amazing stealth while hunting, lunging out of the water to attack their prey and killing it with a single snap of its powerful jaws.

Would they make a good pet?

The aggressive nature of the saltwater crocodiles makes them unsuitable for keeping as pets. However, they are kept in captivity for conservation purposes.

Did you know...

The saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the largest living reptile in the world.

The saltwater croc is also known by other names such as Indo-Pacific crocodile, estuarine crocodile, sea crocodile, and marine crocodile. In Australia, saltwater crocodiles are referred to as 'salties.'

The cooler territory of the Queensland coastline is not ideal for saltwater crocodiles because the low winter temperatures impact the growth rate of the crocodiles and prevent the hatching of eggs.

The hide of the marine crocodile is a prized commodity. Indiscriminate hunting for hides has led to reduced populations of these crocodiles.

The saltwater crocodile can hold its breath underwater for at least an hour.

Saltwater crocodiles have special transparent eyelids that protect their eyes underwater and enable them to see even when fully submerged.

The saltwater crocodiles can thermoregulate, that is, maintain their body temperature. When they become too hot, they move into the water and stay submerged until cooled and when they become too cold, they bask in the sun to warm up.

Even though the saltwater crocodiles have powerful jaws, the muscles in them are arranged in a way that facilitates clamping down. The jaw muscles responsible for opening the jaw are extremely small and weak.

The tail of these crocodiles is composed of strong and powerful muscles that make them good swimmers and helps them to make sudden lunges out of the water to attack prey.

When a saltwater crocodile floats on water, it usually has its eyes and nostrils exposed above the surface.

The sex of the newborn Australian saltwater crocodile depends on the temperature; between 30-32 degrees Celsius the hatchlings are mostly male and temperatures above or below that range produce females.

The saltwater crocodile bite force (3,690 pounds-force) is one of the strongest recorded for an animal.

How fast can a saltwater crocodile run on land?

On land, saltwater crocodiles can achieve a speed of 7.4-8.7 mph (12-14 kph) for short periods.

What is the biggest saltwater crocodile ever?

The biggest saltwater crocodile ever was a captive one. Its name was Lolong and it reached a length of 20 ft 3 in (6.8 m) and weighed 2,370 lb (1,075 kg).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including the leopard tortoise, or monitor lizard.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our crocodile coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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