As far as Northern Territory stereotypes go, man-eating crocodiles being everywhere is probably as prevalent as they get.
But unlike most stereotypes, this one isn't too far from being true.
The modern-day dinosaurs really do inhabit most of the Top End's seas, rivers and - if there has been a particularly big downpour - sometimes a man-made lake in the middle of the suburbs.
Personally, and somewhat fortunately, the only crocodile I've actually seen in the wild in the Top End was a freshwater crocodile called Gummy that lived in the water near a caravan park in Kununurra - so named because of his complete lack of teeth.
Gummy is the only crocodile in the world that I would ever get remotely close too.
Something to clarify to those who aren't in the know, however, is that there are two different types of crocodile: freshwater and saltwater. And the species makes a huge difference to how willing you might be to risk venturing near the water.
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A saltwater crocodile is what you might think of when you think generally of crocs - they're bigger, angrier and more cunning than their freshwater counterparts.
They're the ones who are known for stalking their prey, hunting them down from a distance before eventually crushing them with what is, according to National Geographic, the strongest bite ever measured.
When I was first told about the "death roll", the move crocs are known to do with their prey that involves gripping it with their jaws before dragging it under water, leaving it dead and dismembered in seconds. I had crocodile-related nightmares for a week.
Freshwater crocs, or "freshies" as they're known locally, are regarded as the smaller, mild-mannered cousin of the saltie. They're less likely to hunt you down and kill you, but will only attack if you get too close. Totally fine, right?
You can tell if someone is a through and through Territorian when you ask if there are crocs in the body of water you're about to enter and they nonchalantly answer "only freshies, so you're good".
Freshies are the types of crocs that can sometimes inhabit swimming holes that are "technically" safe to swim in. There was the time I went to the stunning Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park, perhaps most famous for its appearance in the movie Crocodile Dundee, and saw a sign on arrival warning visitors that rangers had spotted a 2.5-metre freshwater crocodile there that very morning.
Gunlom wasn't closed for swimming, and there were still plenty of kids splashing around without a care in the world. The advice for visitors therefore loosely translates to: "Nowhere is completely safe for swimming, but we're not going to stop you - if you do get bitten, don't say we didn't warn you."
Confusingly, you can't always rely on the type of water telling you which type of crocs potentially inhabit the area. For example, the Adelaide River has one of the highest saltwater crocodile populations in the Top End.
In fact, several companies do "croc jumping" tours there where tourists can get on a boat and watch the salties jump out of the water to snap at a piece of meet dangling from a stick. Recently a cruise operator had his hand and arm mauled after leaning down into the water to retrieve a hook. The Adelaide River is also, famously, a freshwater river.
Perhaps the most torturous thing about Darwin is that despite being surrounded by some of the most inviting-looking, beautiful oceans and waterholes in the world, coupled with the intense heat, going swimming in them is one of the most dangerous things you can do.
Yes, it is more common to go for a swim in the ocean in the dry season, when the water is cold and there's less chance of encountering irukandji (did I mention we also have killer jellyfish here?). However, the threat of crocs always looms in the back of your mind and it's impossible to truly relax in the water.
Even if you do everything right - go at the highest possible tide, swim at a patrolled beach (where a big part of the lifeguards' job is to keep an eye out for crocs) I've always found myself scampering to the shore after just a few minutes.
Because, even though I have never personally spotted a saltie at the beach, I know enough people who have.
So, to recap, you shouldn't swim in the ocean and crocs sometimes sneak into freshwater holes and man-made lakes.
But hey, that's what swimming pools are for.
Oh, except for that time in 2011 when someone threw a baby crocodile into a public pool. Watch out for that, too.
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