After the New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae), the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the only other crocodylian species found in Papua New Guinea (PNG). C.porosus has a wide distribution ranging from the Solomon Islands to Sri Lanka and India and is the largest of all the worlds crocodiles, growing up to more than 6 m (20 ft) long and weighing over a tonne (2,300 lbs).
Saltwater crocodiles share lowland river and swamps with freshwater crocodiles and are more common closer to the coast. In New Guinea and in particular, PNG, they can be found on all the island provinces and have been known to inhabit crater lakes too. Their typical habitat is mangrove and coastal swamps and roundwaters and despite their name, are quite at home in freshwater too.
Like their cousins, the New Guinea crocodile, saltwater corcodiles make mound nests from vegetation, guard their nests from predators and release their yound from the mounds at hatching time. In the Sepik, saltwater corcodiles tend to nest between the months of April and June and often ues the same nests as the New Guinea crocodile although by this time all eggs of the New Guinea crocodile would have been hatched and gone already. For populations on the southern side of PNG, nest time is between November and Jamuary although some can nest as early as September or as late as March.
The feeding habits of saltwater crocodilesa re similar to those of the freshwater crocodile, with the exception that they will take much larger prey more often and occassionally kill humans. Outside of PNG, saltwater crocodiles have been hunted to near extermination for its valuable skin but PNG and northern Australia still harbour safe breeding populations for this species and represent the last strongholds of this great reptile.
Rom and Zai Whitaker, (1984) Reptiles of Papua New Guinea
Question I’m going on a cruise there are and reading now that they are distributed everywhere does this mean local beaches are not safe for swimming. It would be early August.
Alotau, KITAVA, KIRAWINA and conflict island.
We were also looking at heading to nuratu island at KITAVA .. and KIRAWINA local guides
There are no fresh /salt water crocodiles on Kitava Island. My Father killed the only one sighted in the sixties with a spear (an iron rod). If you have already been there; I am sure you enjoyed the white sandy beaches on both Kitava and Nuratu. I am from Kumwagea village but live and work in Port Moresby. BANIAN MASIBODA – [email protected]
My father killed the only crocodile sighted on Kitava Island back in the sixties.
If you’ve already been there, I am sure you enjoyed the sandy beach of Nuratu.
Hello Banian and thank you for your comment. I note my article mentioned they can be found on “all island provinces” which is contrary to your comment here. Just out of curiosity, where is Kitava and Nuratu?