Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Juvenile freshwater crocodiles

A juvenile freshwater crocodile undergoes a health check.

Yes, I know...this is a site about companion animals and traditionally that means dogs and cats. But in many places people keep wildlife as companions - subject to licensing requirements. I had the opportunity to examine a juvenile freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnstoni) kept as a pet in Darwin.

They are extremely beautiful and at this age very soft, rubbery and non-threatening. In fact, juvenile freshies are under attack from a number of threats including the cane toad, which has made its way up North and is decimating the wild life, and their larger relatives, saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus). Strangely enough, the first patient I ever drew blood from was a juvenile saltwater crocodile. 

They are beautiful but they are not major fans of vets and they're challenging patients as they are subject to some nasty infections, they're not keen on taking meds and they have dominance issues. They can get very stressed during examinations.

What happens when you smile at a crocodile?