Crocodiles in Kimberley Gorges?

by Monika
(Switzerland)

Hi, I'm Monika from Switzerland. Crocodiles and snakes are animals that we are not used to in my country and I am very afraid of them!!! Next July I will travel through the wonderful Kimberleys. I know, that snakes are all around there and I just bought me a pair of gaiters to protect me...

But what about the crocs? Are the gorges like Bell Gorge, Manning Gorge, Galvans Gorge usw. croc free? In which rivers and creeks do the dangerous satwater crocodile live? What about the Dampier Peninsula? I would be very happy about your answer, so I can avoid these places - I don't really want to meet a r e a l crocodile when swimming...! Thank you!!!

Related question:
Crocodile Danger Prevention

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Jan 08, 2009
Gorges are safe, July is safe, it's all safe...
by: Birgit

Hi Monika,

Your fears are unfounded, based as you say yourself on the fact that you are not familiar with snakes or crocodiles. There is no real danger that would justify those feelings.

If your gaitors make you feel better, by all means use them. But they certainly aren't essential.

Snakes are nowhere near as dangerous as they are made out to be. You can read more about snakes on my other website.

I won't go into more detail here because in my experience fear of snakes is often similar to fear of spiders. It's irrational, similar to a phobia, and reasoning makes no difference.

There is a page about crocodiles here, and I also address the topic in the full guide.

I just updated the page on the website to make a few points more obvious and clearer. You may want to re-read it.

There is no danger from crocodiles unless you do stupid things. (Which means doing things that page told you NOT to do.)

Don't worry about crocodiles in those gorges. That's not crocodile habitat and never will be. Crocodiles need a very different environment. If there was any danger I would have mentioned it.

For example I do mention crocodiles everywhere I talk about the Pentecost River, because crocodiles live in the Pentecost River. But do you really think I would send people swimming to all those gorges if there were saltwater crocodiles living in them???

It's only on the coast or near big tidal rivers that you need to be careful. You don't need to avoid those areas, you just need to be sensible. (Don't stand on overhanging logs above a river, don't swim in the Pentecost etc.)

Crocodiles live in big tidal rivers (e.g. Pentecost, King and lower Ord) and in creek mouths and mangrove swamps on the coast (e.g. east coast of the Dampier Penisula and some areas on the west).

Fishermen need to be careful. You should not camp right on the bank of our big rivers (but you aren't allowed to do that anyway for other reasons). Basically, any place that is good for barramundi fishing is also popular with crocodiles.

But all the gorges and waterfalls? Goodness, forget about crocs there.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you'll be here in the tourist season, like all tourists. Crocodiles aren't very active at all in the dry season. ANY crocodile attacks ANYWHERE in Australia, happened over the wet season/hot time of the year. And they were ALL the result of people doing stupid things.

I understand that someone who does not understand snakes or crocodiles is worried. But please, I hope you won't let those needless fears spoil your trip.

Jan 09, 2009
Thank you...
by: Monika

... for your detailed answer - I will be enjoying my trip! Thanks.

Jan 10, 2009
Phobias
by: John

Given the amount of people that suffer from phobias in the world it's surprising there are not more places online to offer help and advice but there is help to be found at the Ofear Forum. You will find people from all over the world giving helpful advice as well as specialists from hypnotherapists, psychotherapists and mental health nurses offering their expert knowledge.

Snakes and animal phobias in general are pretty common and there are a few people on the forum that suffer from this and can relate.

Jan 10, 2009
Snakes
by: Birgit

Thanks for the suggestions, John.

I doubt many of my readers do have a real phobia and I certainly wasn't suggesting that Monika does.

In fact, I think the biggest problem with snakes is the sensationalism and all the hype and misinformation that surrounds them. It is not surprising that people from Europe, who of course have no first hand experiences with snakes, should worry. If all you ever hear is this nonsense about how Australian snakes are the most dangerous in the world...

When I first arrived here I sure was worried. Now I love snakes :-)

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