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  • Writer's pictureMagnetic Community News

Freshwater crocodile bite – Ross River

Pictured above: Australian freshwater crocodile.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has investigated a report of freshwater crocodile bite on a person who was canoeing in Townsville’s Ross River on February 24, 2022.

Director Northern Wildlife Operations and Threatened Species Lindsay Delzoppo said the woman was canoeing with family above the Aplin Weir when she was bitten on the arm by an estimated 1.5 metre freshwater crocodile.

“They were among the reeds near the Loam Island boat ramp and it’s believed the woman accidentally hit the crocodile with an oar,” Mr Delzoppo said.

“The freshwater crocodile is believed to have turned around defensively and snapped at the person’s arm near their elbow, causing a laceration, before disappearing under the water.

“A DES crocodile expert who examined a photograph of the injury described it as being consistent with a defensive bite from freshwater crocodile.

“Today (Friday 25 February 2022) wildlife officers investigated the site by boat but did not observe any animals of concern. The animal will not be targeted for removal from the wild.

“This is a good reminder that there are freshwater crocodiles in the Ross River, above the Aplin Weir, and to stay away from them if at all possible.”

Mr Delzoppo said freshwater crocodiles can be distinguished from estuarine crocodiles because of their smaller size and their narrower snouts,” he said.

“Freshwater crocodiles pose very little danger to the community, are generally timid and are likely to flee at the first sight of people approaching.

“They may show defensive behaviour if they feel cornered or threatened, which is what we believed happened when the person was bitten on Thursday.”

All crocodile sightings can be reported by using the free QWildlife app or by calling 1300 130 372. DES investigates all reports it receives.

Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in croc country.

Townsville is known crocodile country and it is important to always be Crocwise in Croc Country. In particular:

  • Expect crocodiles in ALL northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign

  • Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe

  • Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night

  • Stay well away from croc traps – that includes fishing and boating

  • The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks

  • Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure

  • Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water

  • Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp

  • Never provoke, harass or feed crocs

  • Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead

· Report all croc sightings to DES by calling 1300 130 372.

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