After Uluru we flew to Darwin and what Aussies call the Top End of the country. The city had a tropical feel to it, which isn’t surprising when you consider it is actually closer to Bali than Bondi. After a day relaxing we headed out to Kakadu National Park on a 4WD tour.
The park is huge – the size of Wales or half the size of Switzerland. It is traditionally a Aboriginal area and indigenous people still live a semi-traditional lifestyle in villages within the park.
We did a load of different activities (a boat trip, bush walking, swimming) and saw some amazing sights (escarpments, wetlands, rock art, waterfalls) but the real highlight was seeing a crocodile in the wild.
It was resting in the shade on the bank of a billabong (an oxbow lake) looking very menacing. He was absolutely huge, about five metres long and looked prehistoric.
A crocodile jaw carries 24 sharp teeth meant to grasp and crush, but not to chew. That’s why they swallow stones that grind the food inside their stomachs.
They sweat through their mouth.
Crocodiles have a four-chambered heart, like birds (their closest relatives) and mammals, for an active life. However, when diving, the heart behaves like a three-chambered reptilian heart, enabling them to stay underwater for longer.
They have night vision.
99% of crocodile offspring are eaten in the fist year of life by large fish, monitor lizards, herons and… sometimes adult crocodiles.
Crocodiles can swim just with their powerful tail at up to 25 mph, and can stand underwater two to three hours.
They can also execute jumps out of the water, several meters long.
- Crocodiles can live up to 80 years.
A perfect end to our short jaunt through Oz.