Stunted Crocodiles and Crippled Toads: What's Going On in Freshwater Escarpments?

Stunted Crocodiles and Crippled Toads: What's Going On in Freshwater Escarpments?

Mon, 08/07/2013 - 12:00

About the Presenter

Dr Adam Britton leads a dual life. He is a partner at Big Gecko, a consultancy that specialises in crocodile management, education and training. He is also a Senior Research Associate (adjunct) with RIEL at CDU where he somehow finds time for research and writing papers. Adam has been doing crocodile-related research and conservation projects for around 18 years, most recently including feeding behaviour of saltwater crocodiles on marine turtles in coastal environments, whether genetic variability within a Nile crocodile populations can be used to conserve habitat, and whether egg harvesting by Traditional Owners in Cape York can be done sustainably. He occasionally appears in natural history documentaries where his words get twisted to within an inch of their original meaning in the name of entertainment.



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Way upstream in freshwater escarpments, you might stumble across some unusual sights. Peering curiously at you from crystal clear streams are freshwater crocodiles the likes of which you have never seen, creatures of reduced stature but bold intent, barely reaching half the size of their larger, downstream counterparts. Furthermore, if you look closely around the rocky banks of these escarpment streams, you’re likely to make a macabre discovery – carcasses of cane toads with their back legs twisted into unnatural shapes.

Something strange has been going on in this spectacular country, and in studying these populations we’ve started to piece together a fascinating story, not only of the conflict between crocodiles and toads, but of the very survival of these dwarf freshwater crocodiles.


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