The Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, is the largest of all existing reptiles. It is found in suitable habitat throughout Southeast Asia and northern Australasia. These are known as “˜salties’ in the Northern territory of Australia. They generally spend the tropical wet season in freshwater swamps and rivers, moving downstream to estuaries in the dry season, and sometimes far out to sea.
Adult male saltwater crocs typically grow to an average of 16 feet long and weigh around 1700 pounds. Some individuals may surpass 20 feet long and can weigh as much as 3700 pounds. In fact this species is capable of growing up to 30 feet long. Females are much smaller than males and typically grow to only 10 feet long.
The saltwater crocodile is an opportunistic predator capable of taking animals up to the size of an adult male water buffalo, either in the water or on dry land. Juvenile crocs are restricted to smaller prey such as insects, amphibians, crustaceans, small reptiles and fish. As it grows, the saltwater croc will increase the size of its prey, although even adult crocs relatively small prey still makes up the majority of its diet.
Saltwater crocodile speed underwater can be 12 to 15 miles per hour in short bursts, but when cruising can go 2 to 3 miles. On land it is capable of moving with astonishing speed when required, significantly faster than a race horse in some cases. As an ambush predator, it waits for its prey to get close to the water’s edge before striking without warning. It uses its great strength to drag the animal into the water where it is usually drowned. Sometimes if there are more than one crocodile around, they will dismember the animal before it even has the chance to drown.
The saltwater crocodile is an immensely powerful animal, having the strength to break a large animal’s legs with its tail, drag a fully grown water buffalo into a river, or crush a full-grown bovid’s skull between its jaws. In its most deadly attack, nicknamed the “Death Roll,” it grabs onto the animal and rolls powerfully, which normally snaps the neck or just rips it apart. In one case in Northern Australia in 1939, a prize Suffolk stallion weighing over 1 ton (2,205 lb) was killed, apparently in under a minute, by a large crocodile. It is said that a saltie has been known to kill a Great White Shark of the same size.