I know of the existance of clans outside of the Sepik that have different animals including crocodiles as their totem but a part from the Sepiks, this is the first time I have seen a reference made to people outside the Sepik, in particular, the Manus people
In discussing the Reptiles of Papua New Guinea (PNG), it is only fitting that we start with crocodiles who not only are at the top of the food chains in their local habitats but also hold important roles in art and tradition and form the basis of a major skin industry that is also a means of sustenace to many river dwelling people. Crocodile meat is also eaten by many people but notably not by members of the crocodile clans like some in Manus (this is facinating to me since, I know of the existance of clans outside of the Sepik that have different animals including crocodiles as their totem but a part from the Sepiks, this is the first time I have seen a reference made to people outside the Sepik, in particular, the Manus people).
New Guinea Crocodiles grow up to 3.6 m (12 feet) though there have beed unverified claims of 14-footers being sighted. They can easily be identified by the presence of prominent, pointed post-occipital scales on the top of the neck just behind the head. These scales are absent in salt water crocodiles. New Guinea crocodiles inhabit swamps, rivers, lakes, roundwaters and streams throughout the lowlands of the main island of New Guinea and are not recorded in any of the major islands.
Rom and Zai Whitaker, (1982) claim that females reach maturity when they are about seven years old, measuring between 2 and 2.5 meters long, however, current records show that female maturity can come much earlier when the animals are between 1.6 and 2 m long. Nesting season is around the same months, usually between August and January but because of the terrain, these months can mean a drier season for the northern population and a much wetter one for southern populations of this species.
New Guinea Crocodiles have a range in body colour from grey to brown with darker bandings on the tail and body which becomes less noticeable as the animal grows. Snouts are long and pointy when young and becomes wider as the animal matures.
Rom and Zai Whitaker, (1982). Reptiles of Papua New Guinea