Crocodile danger prevention

(Bordeaux. France)

I am very intrigued by what you are writing about crocodiles. Indeed these animals are not very well known in Europe. Therefore, I have some questions that, I think, will seem naïve, even perhaps stupid for an inhabitant of Australia like you.

For example, concerning Andy's chasm or Grotto, how can you know that such waterhole is free of crocodile. Doesn't the habitat of crocodiles ever change from year to another?

In other part, you are talking about fishing. But how can we fish in water where salties are living when I have read later that crocodiles are very fast and agile to catch its prey. Must we be mad for fishing or crocodiles don't eat people hanging fishing rods?

Another thing I don't understand : Why above the dams it is free of crocodiles, since I suppose, the lake is supplied with a river upstream.

Last thing : How far from the water, are the crocodiles wandering? Can we find crocodiles strolling more than 100m from the riverbank?

Despite numerous readings, I don't manage to get an idea about crocodile danger prevention.

If that doesn't bother you to answer me, maybe I could reassure my wife who starts to question if this trip deserves the risk to feed the local fauna.

Thanks for answering.

Related question:
Crocodiles In Kimberley Gorges?

Comments for Crocodile danger prevention

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Jul 22, 2008
Don't let the crocodiles stop you!
by: Birgit

Hi Patrice,
Your questions are not naïve at all. I think they are excellent. I will answer them one by one:

Places like Andy's Chasm or the Grotto:
If you would see those places you would understand. These are small creeks that dry up once it stops raining. There is not enough water for crocodiles to live in the creek. In the waterhole itself there are no mudbanks or sand, just very steep cliffs. Those places are definitely not crocodile habitat and never will be.

But it is a good question to ask and applies to many waterholes. Yes, crocodiles do expand their habitat every year. Often it is impossible to tell just by looking at a waterhole if there are crocodiles or not. Therefore, if you don't know, don't swim. Always get that information first.

As for fishing where crocodiles are present:
Well, that is one thing where you need to be sensible and follow exactly the things that I say in the book and on the website. Crocodiles do not usually attack boats or people fishing from the bank. But if fishermen keep feeding them, then one day they may...

Crocodiles can be fast and agile, but they are also very lazy and opportunistic. They will rather hide under water for many days and wait for you to do something stupid than expend energy trying to get you.

You can see that it is not mad to go fishing here because everyone does. People here live to fish. As long as you are aware of the crocodiles and follow the rules that I give, you will be fine.

Lake Argyle above the dam is free from crocodiles because they haven't got that far yet and because it isn't really good crocodile habitat. The rivers flowing into the lakes from above are not connected to the ocean. The crocodiles are coming from the other side and they are slowly spreading upriver.

There are a couple of salties living at the other end of Lake Argyle (where the Bow River and Ord River enter it). But so far there are none anywhere near the dam.

(However, there are people who say they would not swim in Lake Kununurra any more...)

I realise this is difficult for people to understand, how can we say one part of the lake is safe if there are crocodiles in another part? But crocodiles are very lazy and territorial creatures. They do not move around during the dry season unless they are forced to do so. And that's one big lake...

Jul 22, 2008
Continued from above...
by: B.

As for wandering and strolling crocodile: crocodiles don't go wandering or strolling, especially in the dry season. If they are out of the water sunning themselves, they are always right on the edge. And if you disturb them they disappear into the water.

A crocodile you can see is nowhere near as dangerous as one you don't. Crocodiles attack from a hiding place under water, never from where you can see them.

In the wet season they may leave the water if they are forced out of their usual habitat by a dominant croc and have to find somewhere else to live, but it doesn't happen in the dry.

The only reason that a crocodile would wander out of the water is because it KNOWS that there is food on the bank, and that only happens if people feed crocodiles and the crocodiles have got used to people and learned to connect people with food. It is extremely unusual for a crocodile to wander into a camp.

Also keep in mind that crocodiles are not as aggressive during the dry season. If you look at any crocodile attacks that ever happened in Australia, it always happens over the wet season when it's hot and they are mating and breeding. (And it always happens because people do stupid things...)

So, as long as you follow the rules for crocodile safe behaviour that I give in the book, you will be fine. Don't forget, tens of thousands of people live here, camp here, swim here and fish here, each and every day of the year.

Follow all the guidelines and you will be safe. It's necessary to be sensible but it's not necessary to worry.

Driving a car in your country (or any country) is a lot more dangerous than swimming or fishing in the Kimberley!

Jul 31, 2008

Hi Birgit,
Thank you very much for your answer. I have taken note about your advices.

Best regards.


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