Report all freshwater crocodile sightings - Townsville

Issued: 18 February

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is asking Townsville residents to report all sightings of freshwater crocodiles that were displaced by the flood event.

Manager Northern Wildlife Operations Michael Joyce said wildlife officers wanted to capture displaced freshwater crocodiles and relocate them into the Ross River above the Aplin Weir.

“A healthy population of freshwater crocodiles perform an important ecological role in the Ross River above the Aplin Weir,” Mr Joyce said.

“Unfortunately, many of them were washed over the Aplin Weir by floodwaters and into drains and waterways in Townsville.

“Freshwater crocodiles may turn up in backyards, sports fields, drains, mangroves and other locations in the next few weeks.

“Wildlife officers have already received a number of reports about freshwater crocodiles taking refuge in the suburbs of Townsville.

“This includes a juvenile freshwater crocodile that was found deceased in a backyard near a swimming pool and one as far downstream as the Port of Townsville.

“Anyone who spots a crocodile in the Townsville area should call the Crocwatch hotline on 1300 130 372. All sighting reports will be investigated and all freshwater crocodiles will be returned to the Ross River if they can be retrieved safely”.

Mr Joyce said people should not attempt to capture, feed, harass or provoke any crocodile, including freshwater crocodiles.

“Freshwater crocodiles pose very little danger to the community and can be distinguished from estuarine (or saltwater) crocs by their smaller size and narrower snouts,” he said.

“Male freshwater crocodiles rarely grow more than 2.5 metres in length while females usually don’t grow to more than 1.8 metres.

“They are generally timid and are likely to flee at the first sight of people or pets, although they may show defensive behaviour if they feel cornered or threatened.

“This is why it is important to leave all crocodiles alone and report all sightings to the Crocwatch hotline.”

Townsville is known crocodile country and it is important to always be Crocwise in Croc Country. In particular: 

  • expect crocodiles in ALL northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
  • obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe
  • be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
  • stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating
  • the smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
  • stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure
  • camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
  • never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
  • never provoke, harass or feed crocs
  • always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
  • remember, you are responsible for your own safety in croc country
  • report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372.

Further information on being Crocwise is available at Crocodiles—Be Crocwise.