Not known for their sweet disposition, crocodiles are one of the fiercest predators in the world and deadly to anything that invades their territory. (Well, walks by them…swims in their river…puts their toes in the water etc…). What kind of insane person would want to be near them let alone be immersed in their habit with nothing on but a bathing suit?
Once near extinction, after being protected for the last 30 years there are now more than 80,000 Saltwater Crocodiles roaming the waterways of Northern Australia. According to the “Jumping Crocodile Cruises”, as they are cold blooded creatures you are more likely to see them basking in the sun in the cool months of June, July, and early August but in the warmer months they will be buried in the mud or under the trees in the shade.
Luckily, no matter what time of year you visit Australia, you can get up close and personal with crocs, not only by having them come right up to your boat and jump for meat (keep your hands in!!) but you can actually be submerged into their habitat with them!!
This is not for the faint of heart! Watch this clip on one woman’s experience with the jumping crocs and being put into the “CAGE of DEATH” with “Chomper”. I am stunned with what happens at 2:19!
Crocodiles are one of the only creatures alive today that have been around since the prehistoric time of the dinosaurs — in fact, they are considered by some to be living dinosaurs. Since coming back from the brink of extinction in the mid-20th century, anyone venturing into the Australia’s northern territory can see one … just look on the river banks — or the beaches (crocodiles have been known to surf the waves around Darwin, not kidding). But considering they are expert stealth predator, and several people die every year from croc attacks, how close can you get? Pretty close, it turns out.
Yes, you can get this close. And yes, it is terrifying.
But before I hit something called the Cage of Death, I’m going to ease into it. Outside of Darwin, on the banks of the Adelaide River, are the Jumping Croc Cruises, where for $30 dollars you can hop on a flat-bottomed boat with roughly 20 other tourists (no dogs allowed, for obvious reasons) and cruise down the muddy river looking for crocodiles, preferably at feeding times (late morning or evening).
Boat staff on the boat lure crocs from the riverbanks by attaching red meat to fishing lines and tapping the water with it.
“They feel the vibration in the water and come,” said our baiter, Kyla. “We like to make them jump so they work for their food and burn some calories. The exertion it takes for them to jump cancels out the calories from the meat, so they do still have to hunt in the wild.”
Crocs on the cruise jump as high as five feet for meat — and have been known to jump even higher.
And so — into the Cage of Death I went with Chopper, the second-largest croc in the park, which, at over a ton, was too large. I’d love to describe it, but frankly, I was a little paralyzed with fear. I do remember thinking, “OH MY GOD, I’M GOING TO DIE!” and “Maybe it’s not so bad … OH LORD, HE’S COMING RIGHT AT ME!” and then getting out safely as Chopper looked on, mildly angry he hadn’t gotten a midday snack.
It was scary — mind-blowingly terrifying, in fact — but I’m so glad I did it. Maybe my fear is still there, but I did face down that long, scaly demon. At least once.