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A One Croc Race

Australian freshwater crocodile galloping

November's Pic of the Month was taken by Danny Raven, showing an adult male Australian freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) galloping into the water. Danny was one of the many volunteers who helped to catch freshies on the McKinlay River during October.

Galloping is a rather unusual behaviour for a crocodile - a bounding gait like a cross between the bouncing run of a rabbit and the gallop of a horse. To most people, a gallop appears to be a most un-crocodilian way of getting from point A to B, simply because it's so fast and explosive, but that's because many underestimate just how fast and agile a crocodile can be. Even a 70 kg, 8 foot male like the one featured in the photograph! Only a handful of crocodilians have been seen to gallop, and it's only commonly seen in one or two species. Freshies are perhaps the most famous crocodilian gallopers out there, getting up to 17 kph or more with a good wind behind them. In most circumstances, the gallop is used to escape from danger. The crocodile in the photograph was being released following a processing session in which it was measured and tagged - something any crocodile worth its scales would wish to run away from. The gallop can be used aggressively to threaten nearby animals, chasing them for a short distance. Such behaviour is more common in more aggressive species such as the Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) but particularly boisterous freshwater crocodiles will do the same. Having 70 kg of hissing, flashing jaws gallop towards you is quite a sobering experience, particularly as the ground tends to shake with each step!



Do you have a photograph which you'd like to become the Pic of the Month? Submit it and I'll select the best. The best photograph I receive each year will receive a prize - an Ilfochrome print - to be awarded in December. So hurry up - time is running out for 2001!


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