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Australian Aboriginals and Saltwater Crocodliles

The Australian Aboriginal has lived with the Saltwater Crocodile for thousands of years in Australia.

Aboriginal communities are very different in different parts of Australia having their own language and their own beliefs and stories.

Some Aboriginals hunted the Saltwater Crocodile as a food source while others had crocodiles as “totems” regarding them as sacred animals.

Some aboriginal communities included the saltwater crocodile as part of an initiation ceremony where an aboriginal man went through a secret ceremony that it was believed would protect him from an attack by a saltwater crocodile.

It would seem that this ceremony worked but it may be that the elders knew the crocodile’s instinct and hunting methods so well that their knowledge simply gave them a good chance to avoid an attack.

In Arnhemland coastal Aboriginals have different methods when hunting and gathering to avoid being attacked by a crocodile.

At the beach a swimming area would be selected that had a white sandy bottom in the area. They would put a lookout up in a tree who could spot any dark shape in the water moving towards the other people as they swam and hunted.

In billabongs there is usually a band of water lilies on either side of the billabong which extend out into the deeper water. Water lilies have long stems that grow to the bottom of the billabong and they also grow very close together.

Again a lookout is posted and if the lookout spots water lilies disappearing under the water it usually means a crocodile is pulling the water lilies under the water as the stem of the water lily catches on the crocodile walking or swimming under the water.

Another technique employed is to gather a handful of reasonably large rocks and to stand back from the water’s edge and to throw a rock every couple of feet along the water’s edge where you intend to go to.

If a crocodile is lying in wait and one of the rocks lands close to where it is it will trigger an attack response by the crocodile as a crocodile acts on instinct.

Aboriginals rely heavily on fishing and gathering snakes and food from waterways so have to take these precautions to protect themselves.

It is not wise to go to the same place at the waters edge more than once. Crocodiles watch and learn so if they see you going to the waters edge they will probably be waiting for you the second or third time you go there. Make sure you go to a different location every time you approach the water in crocodile country.
Gary Crockett
Copyright 2011
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