crocodile attack
Crocodile Attack: Can we be warned? Photo by Shatalkin

How many crocodile attack stories have you heard this year? Well, if you are into reptiles as most our readers are, you surely read quite a few stories about crocodile attacks on humans. Unfortunately, as long as we mess with their ecosystem – we will always be legitimate targets. But what would you say if you could use a special warning system against crocodiles?

A recent study by a team of researchers from the University of New England, was able to predict, even down to the hour in some incidents, as to when a crocodile was likely to appear. The research uncovered useful crocodile facts, which if combined and put into a model – could someday be used to warn people from a possible crocodile attack. The study results could make swimming and fishing in the far north of Queensland and many other areas – much safer.

The team of scientists, led by Project leader Dr Hamish Campbelltried to find out when crocodiles are most likely to be lurking around. They monitored the crocodiles by using tracking devices over three years in two river systems in the far north of Queensland, Australia.

Among the facts found, the team revealed that crocodiles and large reptiles are more likely to visit areas that are frequented by humans between the months of September and January, and at high tide. The scientists recorded 270 incidents over the period of three years, in which reptiles passed through areas that were frequented by fishers, swimmers and other people.

During the mating time of September and January, the activity increased, due to the fact that males were searching for females, while females were searching for nesting sites. The observations also revealed that crocodiles were more likely to move during the night, and that some crocs even travelled up to 50 km. Another interesting crocodile fact that came up in the research, is that while crocodiles did frequent areas where people were hanging around, the crocodiles tended to move quickly through these areas and did not stick around.

Project leader, Dr Hamish claims there are locations where they can predict down to the exact hour – when crocodiles will turn up. Based on all the facts gathered in the research, the scientists claim that they can basically say “At this time of year, when the tide is like this or at this time of the day this is the sort of patters where crocodiles are going to be”. These results could be put together into some kind of model of Crocodile Attack Warning System. This could save dozens of lives every year. However, the scientists say that more research is required in other areas, before a Crocodile Attack Warning System is developed…

Let’s hope and see…

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