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Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile © RD-DGFC

Appearance 

The largest of this monster crocodile was found to be 7.3m long - we have seen a 5m one on the banks of the Kinabatangan and it was big enough! They have a long, heavy snout with a pair of ridges running from the head to the centre of the snout and oval shaped scales on the back. Juveniles are brighter than adults with black spots on a pale yellow/grey background.

Distribution 

East India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Malay Peninsula, South Pacific Islands, Borneo and Australia.

Behaviour 

Being reptiles, the Salt Water Crocodile is not dependent on a watery environment, because the eggs have evolved to have a hard protective outer shell, and the embryos develop within a protective membrane. The fact they can survive on land makes them all the more formidable as they are more than capable of eating humans. The natives of Borneo fear them more than any other animal. Their main hunting and breeding grounds are estuaries but they also live in lakes such as the Danau Girang and rivers such as the Kinabatangan. Budin has seen eleven in one trip from Danau Girang to Batu Puteh before now! They are highly territorial and aggressively defend areas of river. Females lay around 60-80 eggs in decaying vegetation, the sex of the hatchlings is decided by temperature dependent sex determination.

Local Legends 

The Terrunggari (White Crocodile) is a legend from the orang-sungei about an enormous crocodile in the Kinabatangan named Terrunggari who took one of the village children to the mouth of the Kinabatangan to watch a duel between Terrunggari and another massive croc named Berlintang. If Terrunggari won the duel, then red blood would flow in the river, and crocodiles would live in peace with man. If Berlintang won the fight then white blood would flow in the river and all the crocodiles from the sea would attack the village. Terrunggari won, and the river people were safe. Unfortunately this legend didn’t turn out to be true as there have been many crocodile related deaths in and around the Kinabatangan.