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Can saltwater crocodiles live in freshwater?

Can saltwater crocodiles live in freshwater
Saltwater Crocodile

Yes, saltwater crocodiles can and do live in freshwater. In Australia, saltwater crocodileslive in both tidal freshwater areas and estuarine waters.

It is not unusual for saltwater crocodiles to encounterthe endemic Australian freshwater crocodile.The saltwater croc travels and will eventually find itself in upstream freshwater areas.

Do saltwater crocodiles prefer fresh or saltwater?

Saltwater Croc

The saltwater crocodile is native to saltwater habitats. They also like brackish wetlands. One thing that people tend to think is that saltwater only refers to the sea.

Saltwater not only refers to the ocean. There are bodies of water that are not technically the sea, but they contain a high concentration of dissolved salts. These salts are mainly sodium chloride.

Here are some examples of bodies of saltwater that are not oceans:

  • Lakes
  • Ponds
  • Estuarine

Most saltwater crocodiles are in Australia. Commonly referred to as salties, they populate brackish and freshwater. As the largest crocodile in existence, the saltwater crocodile has an enormous range.

Apart from Australia, the saltwater croc is also found in Asia. They mostly are in India and the southeast countries of Asia. Salties are dangerous to humans and cause 1,000 casualties annually.

Related Article: Do Crocodiles Eat Each Other?

Do saltwater crocodiles live in the sea?

Crocodile in the ocean
Crocodile in the ocean

No, the saltwater crocodile does not live in the sea. A saltiecan survive the salinity of the sea, but saltwater crocodiles are still semi-aquatic animals. They need to go back on land to breathe and bask under the sun.

Saltwater crocodiles hunt in water, like the rest of their cousins. As semi-aquatic animals, they have no gills. As such, while they can dive for long periods, they cannot breathe underwater.

The saltwater crocodile is also cold-blooded. It needs to sun to balance its temperature. If under the sea, the croc will suffer from extreme cold and may die. Saltwater crocs are not like turtles who are suited for ocean life.

Since they cannot breathe in the water, they cannot live permanently in the sea. Saltieshunt for food in the shallow seas, but they do not venture into the deep.

Related Article: Do crocodiles eat sharks?

How can saltwater crocodiles stay in saltwater?

Crocodile Swimming
Crocodile Swimming

Saltwater crocodiles have a salt gland that enables them to process salt from the water. Instead of swallowing the salt, the salt gland discharges it.

This is not to say that other crocodiles do not have these salt glands. They also do, but the saltwater crocodile seems more attuned to this capability. Alligators, on the other hand, do not possess this quality.

Many crocodiles can also process salt. Despite this, they rarely venture out to the sea. They only do so incase of emergency. For example, they may go to seaif there is a massive flood in their area and get washed out.

Related Article: Can Crocodiles Jump?

Do saltwater crocodiles travel in the sea?

Crocodiles in water with mouths open
Crocodiles in water with mouths open

Yes, saltwater crocodiles travel in the sea. This giant catches the wave like a surfer from time to time. But why? No one really knows. There are many theories about this behavior, but there is no confirmed consensus.

Crocodiles are poor swimmers compared to sharks and fishes. As such, they do not cross the ocean by swimming. Instead, the ride currents. Scientists observed that they waited for the tide to be favorable. Only then will they cross the ocean.

As far as food is concerned, a saltwater crocodile has vast reserves of energy. It can survive for a long period without eating or drinking. As such, it can stay in the ocean for a long while.

What scientists know is that salties always begin their journeys within an hour after the tide has changed. After that, they ride the currents and go with the flow.

If the tide changed again, they would stop. The crocs bring themselves to riverbanks. Some dive to the bottom until the tide is not against them anymore.

What’s the difference between a saltwater crocodile and a freshwater crocodile?

Cuban Crocodile

These two crocodiles belong to different species. The main difference between the two is that the saltwater crocodile is bigger than the freshwater one.

The saltwater crocodile is the biggest croc in the world. It is also one of the most aggressive, along with the Nile crocodile. They attack humans not for territorial reasons but for food.

How long can saltwater crocodiles live in freshwater?

They can live in freshwater for as long as they want. Freshwater bodies are teeming with life. Saltwater crocodiles inhabit them in the same way that many species of crocodiles do.

Saltwater crocodiles also live in rivers. They are much more comfortable in saltwater, but these habitats make little to no difference to them.

Where do saltwater crocodiles live in Australia?

Crocodile in Algae Water
Crocodile in Algae Water

The saltwater crocodile in Australia lives in many areas. Below are some:

  • Queensland
  • Darwin river
  • Adelaide river
  • Mary river
  • Daly river

The estimate is that there are 200,000 adult saltwater crocodiles in Australia. They live in Broome, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia.

Are saltwater crocodiles endangered?

Saltwater Crocodile

The status of the saltwater crocodile is Least Concern. It has been like this since 1996. The crocodile was once hunted down for its skin. It was threatened in the 1970s.

Although the saltwater crocodile is dangerous to humans, there are laws that protect it. It is the largest extant reptile and crocodile that humans have seen.

The CITES protects the saltwater crocodile from international trade. It is illegal to trade the crocodile commercially. All its parts and derivatives are illegal to buy and sell.

On the other hand, commercial trade is not illegal if the government grants an export permit. There are also people who have a license to breed the saltwater crocodile or keep them in captivity for commercial purposes.

Summary: can saltwater crocodiles live in freshwater?

Yes, saltwater crocodiles can live in freshwater. They do live in freshwater and are only called saltwater because many of them live in estuarine and brackish waters. Saltwater crocodiles can survive in the ocean because they have salt glands that process and excrete the salt from the water. They also travel long distances in the ocean, but the reason for this is not known.

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