Where is Croc Country?
Croc Country (considered to be typical crocodile habitat) begins at the Boyne River south of Gladstone, and extends northward, up the east coast and across far north and north west Queensland to the Northern Territory border. Crocodiles can sometimes also be found outside of croc country.
Crocodiles can be found in freshwater and saltwater locations along the coast and up to hundreds of kilometres inland including:
- rivers and creeks (including tidal reaches and mouths)
- offshore islands of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.
Saltwater (estuarine) crocodiles can also live in freshwater, it’s just that they generally prefer the saltwater environment where’s there’s more food sources.
Understanding crocodile behaviour
Crocodiles are apex predators that use ambush tactics, such as lying and waiting at the water’s edge, to capture their prey.
Just because you can’t see a crocodile, it doesn’t mean there is not one close by.
Crocodiles can stay underwater for over an hour and can be completely concealed, even in knee-deep water.
- Night, dusk and dawn—are when crocodiles are most active.
- During and after high tides and heavy rains. Crocodiles can move further upstream during very high tides and periods of flooding and may move into new areas where they haven’t been seen before.
Top tips to reduce your risk
- Stay at least 5m from the water’s edge. Crocodiles often hunt their prey at the water’s edge.
- Dispose of your food and fish scraps in a bin or take them home. Crocodiles are attracted by an easy meal, so make sure you take your food, fish scraps and bait away from the water, camp site and boat ramp. Any scraps left in these areas puts future visitors to the area at risk.
- Keep your pets on a lead and away from the water’s edge. Animals, and dogs in particular, are attractive prey to crocodiles.
- Avoid using small watercraft such as kayaks and paddleboards. The smaller the vessel, the greater the risk—crocodiles have taken people from small vessels.
- Stay well away from crocodile traps. Crocodile traps are designed to attract hungry crocodiles so avoid fishing and boating near them and never interfere with them. People who deliberately interfere with the operation of crocodile traps face potential penalties of over $15,000.
Be Crocwise when fishing, boating and camping
- Stand at least 5m back from the water’s edge when fishing.
- Use an esky, tackle box or similar object as a barrier between you and the water.
- Leave the lure. People have been attacked while recovering a fishing lure. It’s not worth your life.
- Dispose of unused bait and fish scraps in a bin or take them home. Leaving potential food sources around for crocodiles to find has a similar effect as feeding them directly.
Boating and recreational watercraft
- Your boat is your barrier. Keep the boat between yourself and the water when launching or retrieving it and face the water whenever possible.
- Keep your arms and legs inside your boat at all times.
- Avoid using small watercraft such as kayaks, paddleboards in croc country. The smaller the vessel, the greater the risk—crocodiles have taken people from small vessels.
- Camp at least 50m from the water’s edge. Crocodiles have attacked people at campsites too close to the water.
- Limit your time at the water’s edge when collecting water. Avoid using the same spot repeatedly as crocodiles recognise repeated behaviours.
Swimming or snorkelling in Croc Country puts you at risk of crocodile attack. No waterway in Croc Country can ever be considered crocodile free. If you decide to swim, reduce your risk:
- Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches. Visit the Beachsafe website to locate patrolled beaches in your area.
- Only swim during the day. Crocodiles are most active at dawn, dusk or at night.
- Only swim in clear water where you can see the bottom. Crocodiles can attack in knee-deep water so wading can still be dangerous.
- Read and obey all crocodile warning signs.