We’re chock-a-block with crocs

DOUBLE CATCH: Two large saltwater crocs have been pulled out of traps today close to the town and popular swimming spots.
DOUBLE CATCH: Two large saltwater crocs have been pulled out of traps today close to the town and popular swimming spots.

There has been an explosion in crocodile captures in a Northern Territory hotspot with another two caught today.

That makes four of the beasts in just a week.

Freshly baited traps near the centre of Katherine and just upstream near a popular swimming hole were both triggered on the weekend.

NT Parks and Wildlife rangers pulled two large males from the traps today.

That makes four in just a week.

One of the traps hasn’t caught a saltie for 19 years.

In past years, Katherine has only recorded about four crocodile captures in the entire season.

Rangers said they were “shocked”. 

Wrestling with today's male.

Wrestling with today's male.

Wildlife Chris Heydon said although he was not surprised to be finding more crocs in the traps, he was shocked to find two in one day. 

“I’d have to go through my records, but I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened in a while,” he said. 

And to find three “would certainly be unusual.” 

“The river has been up for quite some time, which is increasing the number of crocs we’re finding,” wildlife ranger Chris Heydon said. 

Both crocodiles were found in the same traps as last week.

The first 2.82 metre male saltie was pulled out this morning at Novus Quarry, downstream from the Low Level Crossing where people regularly head for a swim. 

The second, a larger 3.23 metre male was found about 200 metres downstream from the High Level Bridge in Katherine. 

Both crocs found today are bigger than last week’s croc found at the High Level Bridge, bringing the tally to seven salties found in the area this year. 

Wildlife rangers Chris Heydon and Erin Britton got a notification this morning to check the traps. 

Crocodile catches are only going to increase, rangers said, and the total tally for salties found in the area is up to seven.

Crocodile catches are only going to increase, rangers said, and the total tally for salties found in the area is up to seven.

And they have received another notification that there is a possible third crocodile trapped in the management zone. 

Mr Heydon said although he was not surprised to be finding more crocs in the traps, he was shocked to find two in one day. 

“I’d have to go through my records, but I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened in a while,” he said. 

And to find three “would certainly be unusual.” 

Last week, senior wildlife ranger John Burke said that the hot weather increases the crocodile’s metabolism, which in turn entices them to the area for food. 

Today, wildlife ranger Chris Heydon, is telling people again to stay safe. 

“Don’t go swimming, it’s real simple,” he said. 

An NT Government website says there are an estimated 100,000 saltwater crocodiles in the wild in the NT.

Culling was outlawed in 1971.

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