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Daintree River cruise - snakes, stubbies & crocs

Anyone up for some Croc spotting?

There are a fair few crocs in these muddy waters, buyer beware... These Aussie crocodiles, they proudly tell us, are bigger than the largest recorded American alligator. They will attack anything seen as a threat to their territory (humans included), even in winter when they don't actually eat much...
 
We join Bruce Belcher's Daintree River cruises and slip out on the river for the last sailing of the day at 4pm. This afternoon cruise is packed. Probably because word has got out that Bruce throws in a few stubbies (beers) for the Dads and a glass of chardy for the Mums...The kids are not left out, even our teenagers are grinning as they walk through the tropical rainforest to the waters edge, clutching their choice of Slurpee frozen drink, some snake lollies and chips... Snakes, stubbies and crocs there is something for everyone on this tour!
 
 
Our tour is led today by Blind Freddy, as he introduces himself. "They give you the bevies so that you laugh at my jokes.." His amusing banter combined with his in-depth knowledge of the wildlife in the area, comes from a lifetime of living in these parts...
 
As we chug along the river, looking intently at the muddy mangroves at the waters edge, we are told to yell out if we spot anything interesting...
'Stop! shrieks one passenger, It's a water snake!'
...it turns out to be a Cormorant, partially submerged fishing under water. The bird hops out and proudly suns himself on a low hanging branch, his wings outstretched as if to proudly demonstrate the size of his catch. 'It was this big...'
 
Above Kites circle ominously waiting, they can take out a baby croc, you know... Next is a pretty female Shiny Flycatcher, part of the Willy Wagtail family and then a Mangrove Heron. Did you know they can extend their necks by 400mm to catch their dinner.... it's non stop action on this tour I'm telling you and we're loving it.
 
Bruce Belcher's Wildlife River Cruise
Luckily with the sun fading fast, there is still enough sun on the banks for us to see what we've all really been waiting for, a male crocodile named Scarface, sunbaking beside the mangroves. Apparently there are only four males crocodiles on the river. Each male has a busy life, not only do they control up to 8km's of river, they also have quite a few girlfriends to keep happy... There are around 65 females on the river...
'Ok, hands inside the boat kids' ...
These four males obviously get around a bit as we saw quite a few baby crocs. We were surprised how small a baby Crocs can be. Some were as little as 20-30 cms, basking under the protective gaze of Mum. I am not surprised that many don't make it through to adulthood...
 
Croc spotting at the Daintree river
Did you know that Crocodiles can grow up to 45 sets of teeth in their lifetimes..."Why can't humans be like this?", Freddie asks. "We could all save a fortune at the dentist" He's got a point... Is someone working on this?
 
As the sun retires on the day, we spot a lone hibiscus flower bobbing along in the water, like the ones we had admired earlier in the day. The Aborigines use them for time keeping, telling their kids to return back home when the flowers drop off around 4pm...
 
Hibiscus flower
As more and more four-o'clockers fill the river, it's time for us to head back to Port Douglas and our river cruise to end. What a great day we've had at the Daintree National Park.
 
Little Wandering Wren

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