SYDNEY (dpa) – More large saltwater crocodiles swim unseen closer to humans than was previously thought, an Australian study released Wednesday said.
Saltwater crocodiles can reach up to seven metres and are often seen lurking close in the surf, in estuaries or resting on beaches in northern Australia.
In the study 80 large saltwater crocodiles on the far north of Australia were surgically implanted with monitoring beacons.
Dr Hamish Campbell of the University of New England said he recorded 270 instances over three years when large crocodiles moved through areas where people were in the water or on boats at the same time.
People who were in the water were questioned and none of them saw the crocodile that was close to them.
“This changes my preconception that a large crocodile will attack a human whenever the opportunity presented itself,” Campbell said.
Crocodiles were most active in the human areas at sunset and during high tides.
“The monitors showed crocodiles can travel 50 kilometres a day for more than a week covering huge distances,” he said.
The study was published in the journal Animal Conservation.