Thursday, August 28, 2008

Weaving through Crocodiles

Last night was our first run around the island on the ATV. Once again, Crab Island has thrown up some more surprises and we came back to camp on a real high after witnessing some amazing sights! It was great to see flatbacks again and we had 230 nest last night. But what had us both gob smacked were the crocodiles…. And lots of them! The story goes… We were heading towards the north of the island on the western beach and shining the spotlight ahead. We had already counted over 15 crocs which had blown us away, but all of a sudden there were over 30 red eyes reflecting back at us. Assuming they were rufous night herons, it wasn’t until we got closer that we realised that there were over 15 crocodiles ranging up to 4m in size spread across the beach. We slowly weaved through them and had crocs scattering all around us back to the ‘safety’ of the water. It was an awesome sight and totally unexpected. What we are most likely seeing is a congregation of saltwater crocodiles which have travelled to Crab Island to feast on the hatchlings. Indeed, our investigations this morning found that the area where the crocodiles had concentrated had seen a flurry of hatchling activity and we found croc tracks intersecting hatchling tracks, along with hundreds of pelican and night heron tracks.

What makes this amazing is that saltwater crocs are normally fairly solitary and do not congregate in numbers. But our guess is we are sharing the island with well over 50 crocodiles!

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