Are Freshwater Crocodiles Dangerous? 13 Facts You Should Know


Are Freshwater Crocodiles Dangerous? 13 Facts You Should Know

Most of Australia’s northern regions are home to freshwater crocodiles, or “freshies.” Compared to their larger saltwater crocodile brethren, this type of crocodile is considerably smaller and shy.

Most people believe crocodiles to be vicious creatures. However, this is not always the case. Although freshwater crocodiles are not known for being violent, they typically attack prey—especially humans—out of self-defense. They can also attack as the result of mistaken identity.

Freshies are generally timid and will run away from people. But if you are not an expert, staying out of their space is advisable. These crocs may feel threatened by your actions and defend themselves by attacking.

Freshwater Crocodiles: basic facts

Freshwater crocodiles are smaller and prefer to keep their distance from people; they are primarily found in Tropical North Queensland.

One way to describe freshies is as a timid species of crocodile. The following information about them will help you learn more about these crocodiles.

Common nameFreshwater crocodile
Other namesAustralian freshwater crocodile, Johnstone’s crocodile, and the freshie
Scientific namesCrocodylus johnsoni
Family Crocodylidae
Found inFreshwaters, swamps, and wetlands 
LocationWestern Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory
SizeMale- Up to 2mFemale- Up to 3m
WeightMale- Up to 70 kg
Female- Up to 40 kg
Swimming speed12.4 mph
DietFish, frogs, toads, small mammals, etc.
Lifespan About 50 years (average)
IUCN Red List statusLeast concern
Danger to humansUnlikely 
Freshwater Crocodiles: basic facts

Freshwater crocodile size

Freshwater crocodiles are a small and reserved species of crocodiles, unlike their larger cousins.

The size of freshwater crocodiles is not as great as that of saltwater crocodiles. Men may reach 3 meters, whereas women can grow up to 2 meters long. Males are capable of weighing up to 70 kg, while females are capable of up to 40 kg.

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It’s noteworthy to highlight how slowly this kind of crocodile grows in this context. In actuality, it takes a male freshwater crocodile about thirty years to grow to a size of three meters.

Freshwater crocodile lifespan

They continue to grow throughout their life. So, how long do freshwater crocodiles live?

In the wild, the average lifespan of a freshwater crocodile is 50 to 75 years. However, if they are reproduced and kept in captivity, their lifetime typically rises, up to 100 years.

It’s noteworthy to remark that crocodiles do not mature naturallyThey keep growing as they become older and continue to survive until something outside of them kills them.

In fact, they are the “living fossils” of the planet because of their capacity to continue growing and not deteriorate.

How to distinguish freshwater crocodiles from saltwater crocodiles?

Here is a table that lists the common differences that will help you distinguish between a freshie and a salty.

Characteristics Freshwater CrocodileSaltwater Crocodile
SizeUp to 3 metersUp to 19 feet
WeightUp to 70 kgUp to 1000 kg 
BehaviorNot muchHighly aggressive
SnoutLonger and thinnerBroad and thicker 
HabitatFreshwaters, swamps, and wetlands.
Sometimes may also be found in brackish and saltwater environments. 
Coastal brackish mangrove swamps and river deltas
Attacking tendency UnlikelyHigh
Eating humansUnlikelyHigh
Freshwater Crocodile vs. Saltwater Crocodile

Do freshwater crocodiles live only in freshwater? 

As the name suggests, it is very convenient for us to think that freshwater crocodiles live in freshwaters. But is this the reality?

Diverse freshwater ecosystems are home to freshwater crocodiles. Rivers, swamps, streams, lagoons, billabongs, and pools are where you can find them. In addition to these locations, brackish waters with a salinity of about 24% are where freshies can also be found.

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Freshwater crocodile hunting style

Saltwater Crocodile have a few cool attacking methods at their disposal. So let’s investigate their hunting technique.

Freshwater crocodiles hunt at night , although they are also active throughout the day. They prefer to ambush victims and hunt using the “sit-and-wait” method. They are more understanding of one another in the wild. In captivity, though, the scene is different. Freshies are also violent toward and hurt their own kind.

Do freshwater crocodiles attack humans?

Freshwater crocodiles are not known for attacking humans in general. However, the news of their attacks is not unheard of. But there are always some valid reasons behind those attacks. For example, freshies often attack humans to defend themselves, their babies, or their territory. 

Do freshwater crocodiles kill humans?

Popular culture typically portrays crocodiles as nasty man-eaters.

It is improbable that a freshwater crocodile will attack and devour humans. These crocodile species are smaller and do not exhibit the characteristics that make saltwater crocodiles man-eaters. In other words, freshwater crocodile attacks on humans are uncommon and are not thought to pose a serious threat to people.

Is it safe to swim with freshwater crocodiles?

Freshies do not inherently pose a hazard to humans, it is still not safe to swim with them. Crocodiles are really unpredictable animals, and you never know when they’ll take offense at someone invading their territory.

Are there any similarities between freshies and salties?

Freshies and salties are related to one another due to a few factors. These factors are listed below.

  • Each is a crocodile.
  • Both are cold-blooded carnivorous reptiles native to Australia.
  • They share a V-shaped snout.
  • Both have painful bites.
  • These animals live alone.
  • They do not age.
  • They have sharp conical teeth.
  • They can become huge. Nevertheless, there is a wide range in their sizes.
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Are Australian crocodiles dangerous?

Some of the most well-known crocodile breeds can be found in Australis. But are Australian crocodiles dangerous?

Both yes and no are the responses. Crocodiles can be found in both freshwater and saltwater in Australia. The most hazardous of these two are saltwater crocodiles. They are nicknamed “man-eaters” and are known to attack people. However, the freshies tend to be shyer and aren’t considered a threat to people.

However, we never advise getting close to any crocodile species. Wild crocodiles are very unpredictable.

Are freshwater crocodiles endangered?

Freshwater crocodiles are categorized as “least worried” on the IUCN website. However, these crocodiles were hunted for their skins in the late 1900s and given legal protection. However, the protection was discontinued as the worth of their skins declined. In the wild, around possibly > 100,000 freshies have been estimated.

Freshies are severely threatened by invasive cane toads, even though they are not normally considered endangered. These toads have poison that, if consumed, can endanger freshwater crocodiles. Fishing nets and habitat destruction similarly threaten these crocodile species.

Can freshwater crocodiles be kept as pets?

Crocodiles, including freshwater crocodiles, should not be kept as pets at all. Also, because they are untamed and erratic, crocodiles are utterly inappropriate as domestic pets. However, freshwater crocodiles can be trained by experts only in zoos or wildlife refuges.

Additionally, crocodiles need a lot of food every day and high levels of maintenance. Crocs cannot also feel emotions in the way that we would expect from a pet. So it will probably be impossible to connect with them.

Not to mention that people and other animals can die from their bites. Therefore, it is recommended to stay away from them.


The key takeaway from this article is that freshwater crocodiles are not particularly threatening. Additionally, they don’t pose a danger to people. Instead, they are in danger due to human activity eradicating their habitat. However, one shouldn’t enter the world of crocs if they are not an expert on these reptiles. After all, crocodiles are wild animals and ought to be handled accordingly. If you will never trespass a lion’s habitat, why get closer to freshwater crocs?

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