Crocodilians Natural History & Conservation

Created by Adam Britton © '95-2011
All rights reserved





Crocodilians: Natural History & Conservation (aka is an ongoing project with the aim of providing educational and research information on these incredible archosaurs. This is a personal project which I try to add to as frequently as possible in my available free time, so its development is gradual rather than sudden. Every effort is made to make the information as timely and accurate as possible - this is a labour of love! Contributions are definitely welcome and will be fully credited. Please email me if you would like to help in any way.

There are some exciting developments ahead, so be sure to check back regularly. Again, if there's anything you'd like to see, or if you have any comments on what is currently available, please get in touch. If you would like to discuss use of images, maps, sounds or drawings, email me.

Please be patient if you send an email. I am sometimes away from my computer for several days at a time. Also, marvellous as e-mail can be, things do get 'lost' in the post. Try again if you don't hear anything. Also, please include a valid e-mail reply address! Many replies have ended up bouncing because of incorrect 'return to' addresses - I do try and reply to all mail where possible.

Quick Snap-shots

collecting eggs
Assessing a wild mugger croc nest in Sri Lanka with Rom Whitaker

Hugging a crocodile is one of those
defining moments in your life!

Say "eow!" into the microphone

eat a zoologist
Tastes like chicken
Dr. Adam Britton

Adam and freshwater crocodile PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:
B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology
University of Leeds, UK [1992]

Ph.D. in Zoology
University of Bristol, UK [1996]

  • Crocodile population ecology and conservation management
  • Crocodilian biology, physiology and behaviour
  • Crocodile capture, immobilisation and restraint
  • Bioacoustics and sensory capabilities of crocodiles
  • Crocodilian blood and immune system
  • Captive husbandry of crocodilians
  • Feeding ecology and bioacoustics of microchiropteran bats
  • Green iguana biology, population ecology, conservation management and captive husbandry

    2006 - present: Senior Partner, Big Gecko, Crocodilian Research & Consulting
    Environmental consultants on crocodile populations and conservation management; scientific and practical support for documentary television, film and radio; research into crocodile biology, behaviour and conservation management; education and tourism
    Affiliation: Charles Darwin University (Senior Research Associate), Northern Territory

    1997 - 2006: Senior Researcher, Wildlife Management International

    Population surveys and management of crocodiles in Cape York Peninsula; Cert. II training in Remote Crocodile Management for rangers and Traditional Owners; Crocodile exclusion and safety training; Crocodile population dynamics in Kakadu National Park and major NT rivers; genetics and conservation of "pygmy" freshwater crocodiles in upstream escarpments; crocodile movement and distribution using satellite tracking; conservation management of long-lived freshwater crocodile populations; immunology of C. porosus; mechanics of crocodile bites; bacteriology of crocodile bites; applying GIS to nesting ecology and population movement

  • Britton, A.R.C., 1992. Feeding behaviour of the little egret (Egretta garzetta) around fish ponds in Mai Po, Hong Kong. Hong Kong Birdwatching Report, 1992
  • Britton, A.R.C., 1995. Synchronous echolocation and high-speed video analysis of attempted prey capture in Daubenton's bat, Myotis daubentonii. Abstract of paper presented at the 10th International Bat Research Conference, Boston, 1995. Bat Research News 36: 52.
  • Britton, A.R.C., Jones, G., Rayner, J.M.V., Boonman, A., Verboom, B., 1997. Flight performance, echolocation and prey capture in the pond bat, Myotis dasycneme (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae). J. Zoology, Lond. 241: 503-522
  • Britton, A.R.C., 1997. Flight Performance, Echolocation and Prey Capture in Trawling Myotis bats. Ph.D. thesis.
  • Britton, A.R.C. & Jones, G., 1999. Echolocation behaviour and prey capture success in foraging bats: laboratory and field experiments on Myotis daubentonii. J. exp. Biol. 202(13): 1793-1801
  • Britton, A.R.C., Ottley, B. & Webb, G.J.W. (1999) A report on the helicopter surveys of Crocodylus porosus in the Northern Territory of Australia. In: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 14th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group, Singapore. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.
  • Webb, G.J.W., Britton, A.R.C., Manolis, S.C., Ottley, B. & Stirrat, S., 2000. The recovery of Crocodylus porosus in the Northern Territory of Australia: 1971-1998. Pp. 195-234 in: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 15th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group, Varedero, Cuba. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.
  • Farlow, J.O. and Britton, A.R.C., 2000. Size and body proportions in Alligator mississippiensis: implications for archosaurian ichnology. Pp. 189-206 in 2000 International Dinosaur Symposium for Kosong County in Korea, ed by Yuong-Nam Lee, Special Publication 4, Paleontological Society of Korea.
  • Britton, A.R.C., 2001. Juvenile crocodilian vocalisations: general characteristics and the effect of scaling on the distress calls of Crocodylus johnstoni. Pp. 364-377 in Crocodilian Biology and Evolution. Grigg, G. G ., F. Seebacher and C.E. Franklin (Eds). Surrey Beatty & Sons: Chipping Norton, Australia.
  • Britton, A.R.C., 2002. International private sector and amateur interest in conservation of the Chinese Alligator. Pp. 352-354 in Status Quo and Future of Conservation for Chinese Alligator and Crocodiles in the World. Proceedings of: International Workshop on Conservation and Reintroduction of Chinese Alligator (Hefei City, Anhui Province, China; 25-28 August 2001); and, the International Workshop on Captive Breeding and Commerce Management in Crocodylia (Guangzhou, Guandong Province, China; 30 August - 3 September 2001). SFA: China.
  • Britton, A.R.C., Diamond, G., Laube, D. and Kaiser, V., 2002. Antimicrobial activity in the blood of the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). [abstract presented by G. Diamond at the 16th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, Florida, USA, October 2002]
  • Manolis, S.C., Webb, G.J.W. and Britton, A.R.C., 2002. Crocodiles and other reptiles: bioindicators of pollution. Pp. 65-69 in The Finniss River; a Natural Laboratory of Mining Impacts - Past, Present and Future. ANSTO: Sydney.
  • Manolis, S.C., Webb, G.J.W., Britton, A.R.C. Jeffree, R.A. and Markich, S.J., 2002. Trace element concentrations of wild saltwater crocodile eggs. Pp. 58-61 in The Finniss River; a Natural Laboratory of Mining Impacts - Past, Present and Future. ANSTO: Sydney.
  • Britton, A.R.C., 2003. Crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gharials. Pp 101-108 in Grzimek's Animal Life Encylopedia 2nd Edition- Reptiles (Vol. 7). Thomson Gale.
  • Britton, A.R.C. and Matsuda, A., 2004. The increasing role of the internet in crocodilian conservation. Pp. 325-339 in Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 17th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group, Darwin, Australia. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.
  • Packett, B., Ford, P., Lever, J., Britton, A.R.C., Manolis, C., Bredl, R. and Watson, S., 2004. Persistent organic pollutants in eggs of the Saltwater Crocodile from tropical Australia: a preliminary survey (publication unknown)
  • Dasari, P., Britton, A.R.C., Manolis, C. and Currie, B.J., 2004. Inhibition of growth of Burkholderia pseudomallei by Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) serum. (publication unknown)
  • Bates, L., Webb, G., Richardson, K., Britton, A.R.C., Bar-Lev, J. and Manolis, C., 2004. "Pancuronium bromide" - an immobilising agent for crocodiles. Pp. 447-451 in Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 17th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group, Darwin, Australia. IUCN: Gland, Switzerland.
  • Farlow, J.O., Hurlburt, G.R., Elsey, R.M., Britton, A.R.C., and Langston, W.R., 2005. Femoral dimensions and body size of Alligator mississippiensis: estimating the size of extinct mesoeucrocodylians. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25: 354-369.
  • Caldicott, D.G.E., Croser, D., Manolis, C., Webb, G., Britton, A.R.C., 2005. Crocodile attack in Australia: an analysis of its incidence and review of the pathology and management of crocodilian attacks in general. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine: Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 143-159.
  • Merchant, M. and Britton, A.R.C., 2006. Characterization of serum complement activity of saltwater (Crocodylus porosus) and freshwater (Crocodylus johnstoni) crocodiles. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A Mol. Integr. Physiol. A. 143(4): 488-493
  • Britton, Adam and Swofford, Jen, 2006. Green Iguanas: A Complete Guide to Iguana Iguana. TFH Publications, 128pp

  • Adam has worked on well over 100 natural history documentaries, plus feature films, radio shows and news reports; his role includes development, scientific advisor, presenter, logistical support, animal wrangler, script writer, cinematographer, editor and composer. Adam has worked with virtually every major and freelance documentary company over the years, appeared on major terrestrial and cable channels, and been involved in most of the key crocodile documentaries since 1997. For more information on documentary production please visit our specialist company Big Gecko.
    Credited programmes include: "Ultimate Guide to Crocodiles" (Green Umbrella Films, Discovery Online), "Untamed Australia" (Téléimages), "Ocean Tales: Crocodiles" (Segment Film Productions), "Triumph of Life" (Green Umbrella Films), "Saltwater Crocodiles" (Thelassa France), "Reptiles: In Cold Blood" (Partridge Films, Big Red Film Services), "The Keepers of the Planet" (Transglobe Films), "The Great Croc Trail" (Partridge Films), "Crocodile Secrets" (Living Proof, BBC Science / Discovery), "Crocodile Wranglers" (Michael Hoff Productions), "Walking with Dinosaurs" (BBC Science), "Weird Nature" (John Downer Productions), "Ripley's Believe it or Not" (Woodridge Productions), "Crocodile Dundee in L.A." (Bangalow Productions), "Wild Gold" (ZED, France), "Supercroc" (National Geographic Television), "Killer Jobs" (Termite Art), "Dragons Alive" (BBC NHU), "Loch Ness" (BBC Science), "Australasia" (BBC NHU), "Animal Face-Off" (NHNZ), "Revenge of the Crocodiles" (BigWave TV), "Life in Cold Blood" (BBC NHU), "Maximum Crocodile" (National Geographic Television). Email me for more information.
  • Adam regularly lectures at various levels from international courses in crocodilian management to local community groups, and provides training to a range of clients.
  • Developed Chinese Alligator Fund for IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group, part of a successful international and Chinese effort to secure new habitat for reintroduction.
  • Principal author "Captive Care of the Green Iguana" video (Scimitar Film Productions)
  • Scientific consultant and content provider for Clyde Peeling's Reptiland exhibit "The Beautiful & the Deadly" (crocodile acoustic communication). Content provider for Science Museum of Minnesota's exhibit "After the Dinosaurs"
  • Web authoring & design: Crocodilians: Natural History & Conservation, Iguana iguana Bibliography, Wong's Green Iguana Heaven.
  • Musician since 1988

    Adam became fascinated by crocodiles from an early age, encouraging him to learn everything he could about life on the sharp end of archosaur evolution. He dabbled with veterinary science for a while before he was attracted to the scope and potential for discovery of zoology. He worked on a variety of early projects including feeding behaviour of egrets, behaviour and ecology of reptiles, and avoidance of bat predators in mantises which opened up the remarkable aural world of chiropterans. He completed his Ph.D. in 1996 on the echolocation and flight behaviour of trawling insectivorous bats, and at age 25 headed to Australia to pursue his original goal of studying crocodiles. By this time Adam had become very interested in crocodile population ecology and behaviour, including the conservation challenges posed when crocodiles and people come into conflict. Adam gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge working as Senior Researcher at Wildlife Management International for Dr Grahame Webb, and after 9 years left to pursue his own goals with his wife concentrating on crocodile research and population management. Erin and Adam established Big Gecko in 2006 and have so far worked on a diverse selection of management, training, research and film/TV projects in Australia and abroad. More information on this work can be found at the Big Gecko website. Adam can be contacted there, by email or by post at: PO BOX 1281, Howard Springs NT 0822, Australia.

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