Their mottled colouring and knobbly backs help them to blend in remarkably well even in shallow, clear water. In muddy wet season billabongs and rivers they become almost invisible.
Salties are the apex predator.
Their bodies have been designed over millennia to make them experts at hiding in shallow water. They are also able to hunt in deeper water, snaffling up large fish and turtles with ease from the muddy depths of a billabong or fast running river.
A Salties eyes are on top of its head and stick up ever so slightly like periscopes.
This lets it keep a very low profile when cruising a billabong or river. Saltwater crocodile's eyes are also equipped with a translucent membrane that can be pulled across the eye when the animal is underwater. This means that they can see under the surface as well as on top.
They may not be able to focus that well underwater however saltwater crocodiles are equipped with other senses that make them the apex predators in our region.
The saltwater crocodile has excellent hearing that they use while hunting or while communicating with other crocodiles.
They don't have external ears as a permanently open ear would cause problems for an animal that spends time underwater. Instead an opening in the skull that leads to the eardrum is covered by a flap of skin that closes tightly when the animal submerges, giving a watertight seal.
They can't hear when they are underwater, but when they are above water, they can hear noise from some distance away.
A saltwater crocodile's sense of smell is very acute and the location of its nostrils on top of the end of its snout means that a Saltie can hide, almost submerged, with just the tip of its nose out of the water.
A saltwater crocodile's nostrils and ears close when it is underwater and it then has to rely on another sense for hunting. Saltwater crocodiles have nerve pits on their belly and jaw skin. It uses these to sense slight changes in water pressure made by fish swimming past in muddy water and is able to hone in on prey as well as if it were using its full range of senses.
There are many things that make saltwater crocodiles animals to respect. When you are out and about this Wet season, always Be Crocwise.
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