If you thought it was safe to swim in Top End waterways during the dry season then think again.
NT wildlife rangers today caught a 2.17 metre male crocodile from Ballongilly Mango Farm on Florina Road, about 30km south-west of Katherine.
It is the 11th saltwater crocodile caught in the Katherine area so far this year.
NT rangers say the combination of a big wet season and a warmer than usual dry season has made the crocs much more active this year, and dangerous.
Rangers say even popular swimming spots could be “compromised” this year.
“All of the ones that we catch swim through the Low Level (at Katherine) and Knotts Crossing. You should see peoples eyes light up when we tell them they have moved through those areas,” senior wildlife ranger John Burke said.
The rangers took the scaly beast to the Pop Rocket Cafe near the Hot Springs as a reminder to tourists and locals to be Crocwise.
Tourists and locals were both horrified and enthralled.
Little Isla McKerrascher got up close enough for a pat with the snared saltie describing it as “big”.
Another woman came to take a look at the crocodile while her small dog ran circles around the reptile.
NT rangers have pulled four saltwater crocodiles from Katherine waterways in the past five weeks.
“We pulled a 3.3 metre from Donkey Camp about three weeks ago,” ranger Chris Heydon said.
Donkey Camp is the location of Katherine Water Treatment Plant’s intake and a popular recreational and boating location for residents.
“Normally in the dry season they slow down a bit, but this year it has been hotter than average so the crocs have been more frisky,” Mr Heydon said.
“We have definitely noticed more than usual.”
Rangers have now trapped 11 deadly saltwater crocodiles in Katherine this year almost double the number caught in 2016.
Mr Burke said even a small saltwater crocodile can be deadly.
“This one is 2.17 metres, it may not kill an adult but it will still lock onto your arm or leg.
“It could drown a child, so those children playing around the waters edge at the Low Level, it is not safe,” he said.
Mr Burke said it is a myth that it is safe to swim in waterways during the dry season.
“Stay out of the water, you can never be 100 per cent sure there is not a croc around, do not underestimate a crocodile,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t realise they can walk and climb.
“As the weather heats up, crocs are becoming more active again.”
2017 Katherine capture
- 3.7 metre saltwater crocodile – Nitmiluk Gorge
- 3.4 metre saltwater crocodile – Nitmiluk Gorge
- 2.7 metre saltwater crocodile – Donkey Camp
- 3.1 metre saltwater crocodile – Leliyn/Edith Falls
- 3.87 metre saltwater crocodile – Donkey Camp
To report saltwater crocodile sightings in the Katherine region phone 0407 958 405.
Under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act it is an offence to touch, stand on, enter, move or disturb a commission crocodile trap.
Doing so may result in a penalty of $7700 or six months in prison.