Crocs heading our way
ONE of the effects of global warming could be seeing crocodiles basking on the banks of the Clarence River.
Amateur wildlife photographer Neil Nelson has recently moved back to the North Coast after 30 years in the Northern Territory, where he became used to living with the massive reptiles.
He has noted crocodiles have been spotted much further south in recent times, including in the Mary River, in south-east Queensland last year.
Mr Nelson said once you get over the shock of sharing your environment with a large, savage animal you can learn to live with them.
"The idea of having crocs in the Clarence would horrify most of the locals, but you live with bull sharks and most don't realise that they are here," Mr Nelson said.
"I have spent the past 30 years in the Northern Territory and did spend a lot of time on the water fishing and associating with crocs.
"I'm pretty realistic in my approach and don't go overboard on how dangerous or not they are."
He said the death of a young girl two or three years ago close to her own home was a tragedy, but added most deaths are caused by people pushing their luck.
Mr Nelson said there was also a tendency to exaggerate brushes with crocs.
"The meetings with crocs generally increase in number and ferocity with the telling and a lot of the stories which start out as very mild incidents after a few cans, turn into legends," Mr Nelson said.
"This is not only the fault of the locals; the tourists embellish them too."
- One of two species in Australia - saltwater and freshwater - but both can live in either fresh or salt water
- 'Croc country' typically reaches as far south as the Boyne River near Gladstone, 500km north of Brisbane
- Crocs mostly live in tidal reaches of rivers but also move in lagoons, rivers, and swamps up to hundreds of kilometres inland
- An average male may be 3-4m long and weigh 200-300kg. Females rarely reach over 3.5m and weigh up to 150kg.
- More aggressive in breeding season, which runs from September to April.
Sources: Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management, Queensland Environmental Protection Agency.