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Zoo location: 
Scientific Name: 
Crocodylus johnstoni
Species class: 
Least Concern
Quick Facts

Life Span: 45+ years, but up to 100 years in captivity!

Size: 1.5m-3m

Weight: 30-60kg

Speed: Up to 18km/hr on land

Collective Noun: Bask or Float

Fun Facts

Evolution: Today’s crocodiles have an evolutionary history of over 200 million years. They are believed to have changed very little over the last 20 million years. There are 23 living species of crocodiles and their relatives, like caimans and alligators.

Appearance: The Freshwater Crocodile is slender-snouted and considerably smaller in build and overall size compared to its cousin, the Saltwater Crocodile Crocodylus porosus.

Crocodiles are covered in scales known as scutes, which do not overlap each other. Bony plates called osteoderms provide extra protection, and these are embedded in the skin along the crocodile’s back. These plates act as armour for crocodiles.

Salt glands: Freshwater Crocodiles have salt glands in the tongue. These glands, about 20-26 of them, secrete sodium and potassium in concentrations higher than that of the blood. It is unknown why this primarily freshwater species has salt glands, but it may be that the salt glands exist as an important means of excreting excess salt and maintaining internal water balance during the dry season when the crocodiles lie dormant on land. Or, given that the species occasionally inhabits brackish waters, the excess salt can then be excreted though the salt glands.

Staying underwater: They can slow their heartbeats down to just a few beats per hour, allowing them to stay underwater for over an hour. 

Photo by Gary Ramage.

Freswater Crocodiles, also known as Johnstone's River Crocodiles, Johnstone's Crocodiles and "freshies" are a species of crocodile endemic to Northern Australia. 

At Taronga:

At Taronga Zoo we have two Freshwater Crocodiles (they do not have names). They are in their 20s and came from crocodile farms.