Crocodiles are on the march across the Northern Territory as the Top End’s soggiest wet season in years continues.
Territorians are finding large saltwater crocodiles far inland as heavy rain floods waterways across the Darwin region.
Rangers trapped two 3.5-metre crocs near the Howard Springs quarantine facility in the past week after a local resident’s dog was eaten.
“We’ve had two bad wet seasons in a row and this one is proving to be a good one so far,” NT crocodile ranger Tom Nichols said.
“We’re finding crocodiles in places we’ve never seen them before.”
Mr Nichols said crocodiles are moving up the region’s freshwater creeks, dams and gullies that drains into the ocean saltwater.
“When you have a good wet season crocodiles move all over the place – people’s backyard in the rural areas, swimming pools, all over,” he said.
“The chances of a crocodile moving up into populated areas is very high.”
The NT’s rainy season also coincides with the saltwater crocodile breeding season from October to April.
“This is when they’re most active,” Mr Nichols said.
Crocodiles can move up to 300km inland but the reptiles found near Howard Springs were about 20km from the ocean.
“It’s a highly-populated area. During the wet season a lot of people go swimming in little creeks around there,” Mr Nichols said.
“Fortunately we’ve been lucky, we haven’t had too many fatalities but the chances are very high.”
Mr Nichols warned that even a two-metre crocodile was capable of killing an adult human.
“Not by the bite but he’ll be able to take you underwater and people usually drown,” he said.
“People have got to be croc-wise. They could be anywhere, small puddles, all over the place, especially at this time of year when the water is high and the animals are moving.”
The NT crocodile management team has 25 permanent traps in the Darwin harbour and numerous mobile traps for use inland waterways.
“Whenever we get a sighting we can put a trap in or do a harpoon run,” Mr Nichols said.