Rangers have snapped up another large saltwater crocodile from the Katherine region to end a record year of crocs in the river.
A record 23 salties have already been caught in the local crocodile management zone – the most ever.
Just 13 were caught last year.
The latest catch came in today as a 3.1 metre male, caught in exactly the same trap as the record 4.71 monster earlier in the year.
While there are obviously more crocodiles in the wild right across the NT, rangers also credit their increased catch as partly due to better access to parts of the river which were previously restricted by debris left over from rising waters.
They are also getting bigger.
This year we saw the largest saltie on record – measuring in at almost 5 metres long, car length – pulled from the river just 60 kilometres from the township at Taylors Park.
Today’s saltie was pulled from the exact same trap.
Rangers said he could have even taken over reins of the area as the top croc.
“He was a bit cantankerous, this croc when we were pulling him in today,” NT Parks and Wildlife ranger Chris Heydon said.
“The river is a bit dirty and that usually stirs them up, plus it is coming up to their mating season,” he said.
Rangers spotted the crocodile in the trap on Monday and ventured out today to bring him in.
While there are eight traps left to check, he could be the last for the year.
As the wet season settles in and the river begins to rise, the traps are taken out so as not to damage them.
“We have caught the most salties in the management ever,” NT Parks and Wildlife ranger John Burke said.
“It seems we are getting more and more every year.
“We have traps in different places – like Taylors Park – we didn’t have access to before because of restrictions from debris on the banks.
“We have caught more because there are more around,” he said.
Ranger Burke said 2018 had been a successful year both in captures and in spreading the crocwise message.
There have been zero attacks in the management zone this year despite the rise in salties swimming about.
It is not the time, however to relax around the river, ranger Burke said.
“As the wet season sets in there is an increase in water, crocodiles can move around and are more active as it is their mating season.
“It is a good time to remind people not to put your self at risk where there are saltwater crocodiles,” he said.
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