The saltwater crocodile is an endangered species, found throughout southeast Asia, and in northern Australia. In the northern territories of Australia, they are called “salties”.
An adult male will reach a length of 15 to 21 feet long and can weigh up to 1700 pounds. There are many documented cases of them being larger than this though. The females are usually quite a bit smaller than this, with an average length of around 15 feet.
Reportedly in 1957, a specimen that measured 28 feet was shot on the Norman river in Queensland, but the only evidence that remains is a plaster cast and so this is not considered to be an official case. This species has fewer plates on its neck than other crocodiles, and a very wide body, which in the past may have led many to believe that it was an alligator.
The number of saltwater crocodiles has severely declined throughout much of their previous range. Sightings in places like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, where they were common, have become extremely rare, and they may actually be extinct in some of these places as no confirmed sightings have been recorded. They are quite rare in most parts of India, can be commonly found in the northeastern part of the country.
In Indonesia, and Malaysia, some areas have quite large populations while others, such as the Philippines, have very small numbers and are considered to be “at risk”. There is also a small population in the south pacific. Mainly in the solomon islands. It is thought that they will soon be extinct in Vanautu.
As a rule these reptiles will spend the wet season in freshwater swamps or rivers and move downstream into estuaries in the drier part of the year, and may sometimes be found to travel far out to sea.
Competing fiercely for territorial rights means that the dominant male in an area has the right to the choicest stretches of creeks and rivers while the junior males may be forced into the smaller river systems, or even out to sea.
Though the smaller or juvenile crocodiles are limited to small reptiles, fish, insects, or amphibians, the larger animals may take prey up to the size of an adult water buffalo. The larger the animal, the greater variety of food they can take.
They are an ambush predator and will wait for it’s prey to get close to the edge of the water and then strike without warning and use their amazing strength to drag the animal into the water.
They may then go into a “death roll” used to throw larger animals off balance making them easier to get into the water. This method is also used to tear the victim apart once it is dead.