What a Catch! Croc feeds at Featherdale
17th September, 2014
Daily Croc Feeds are back from Saturday and Ngukurr, Featherdale's 4.5metre Saltwater Crocodile is feeling mighty hungry after his Winter fast.
Measuring over 4.5 metres, Featherdale's lovable rogue is often mistaken by Featherdale’s visitors for a statue as he suns himself in his enclosure. But don’t be fooled, this giant Croc is 500 kgs of lethal quicksilver - as many unsuspecting birds have discovered.
Captured in 1987, after terrorising the local farm-dog population in the Northern Territory, Ngukurr was taken to Janamba Croc Farm to become part of a breeding programme. The troublesome teenager didn’t take too kindly to this and attacked every female crocodile that he was placed with. He was finally sent to Featherdale in 1992 where he now lives a happy and carefree life in a purpose-built enclosure, fully equipped with a heated pool to help brave the Sydney weather.
Often mistaken as cold-blooded, Crocodiles are in fact Ectothermic, which means that they warm up their body using a heat source like the sun. Because they don’t expend energy warming up their own body, Crocodiles need about 85% less food for their size than a warm-blooded animal and subsequently don’t require frequent meals. In order to feed Ngukurr his daily meal during the Summer months, Featherdale’s keepers provide small rations such as a quarter of a chicken. During the cold Winter months, Ngukurr does not require feedings as his metabolism is not active enough to digest the food.
Saltwater Crocodiles like Ngukurr can be very lazy when it comes to dinner. In the wild he’d be hiding in the water with just his nostrils exposed waiting patiently for potential prey such as small mammals to come past. Then he’d attack them with surprising speed using his incredibly powerful jaws. He can close them with up to 3000 pounds per square inch of pressure. That’s enough to crush a car.
Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodiles are one of two crocodile species that are currently found in Australia and have been living here in various forms for almost 200 million years. Saltwater Crocodiles are the largest of any living crocodilian, sometimes reaching lengths of almost 7 metres and weighing well over a tonne. They often live in water that is brackish and are sometimes found up to 15 kilometres out to sea.
The other Australian species found in Australia is the Freshwater or Johnson’s Crocodile. This species only occurs in freshwater rivers, creeks, ponds and streams and doesn’t grow as large as the Saltwater Crocodile. Freshwater Crocodiles occasionally reach 3 metres in length but are not a threat to people or stock. This species only hunts fish in the wild, they use their long slender snout to glide through the water then spear the fish on their teeth.
You can visit Ngukurr at Featherdale Wildlife Park 9am to 5pm daily. Featherdale is located at 217 Kildare Road, Doonside.