A crocodile as a pet? Surely we must be joking right. Well… No, we aren’t. What we don’t recommend you acquiring a large saltwater crocodile to your son Johnny putting on a leash and sending them both at the school on pet day… But there are people in Australia who outside of zoos to keep crocodiles as pets. In fact, there are many credible stories of freshwater crocs having been domesticated and becoming as a result of tame enough to handle and left to roam their owners’ houses.
Check out these examples.
and if you ever take a trip along the savannah way and stop in at Lorella Springs Station…. the owner there, Rhett, kept one as a pet that was so domesticated that he could take it down to the river swimming with him, and it would then leave the water and come home in the car with him!
Of course… we’d never recommend keeping a saltie as a pet….. at least… we’d not recommend you try and domesticate one. But again, there have been incredible accounts of people taming large crocodiles – check out this video.
The crocodile in question is not an Australian species but it is closely related to the Australian Saltwater crocodile.
But seriously, if you are interested in keeping an Australian crocodile is a pet here are a few tips.
Can I get any sort of crocodile or alligator?
No, as with all reptiles, it going to be almost impossible for you to get permission in any state to import or purchase an exotic species of any crocodilian.
Do all states allow the keeping of Crocodiles?
No, a the time of writing this article on the NT and Victoria allow the keeping of crocodiles.
Can I catch one in the wild?
No, nowhere in Australia are you allowed to take any wild reptile and keep it as a pet.
So… I’m allowed to keep a full-blown saltwater crocodile as a pet in Victoria or the Northern Territory
no, you aren’t. In the Northern Territory you make it freshwater or saltwater crocodile (if you first obtain the appropriate licence) and keep it until it is no more than 60 cm long. Most crocodiles will easily reach this length in less than a year. After that time in the Northern Territory, if you live in a built-up area of crocodiles will have to be returned to the appropriate crocodile care facility. If you live in a rural area, you may continue to keep your crocodile if you how is it in the appropriate enclosure is described in the Northern Territory legislation.
In Victoria in order to keep crocodile did a private wildlife (advanced) licence and again, there are a variety of important regulations that need to be followed in order to ensure everyone is kept safe from the crocodile, this includes both owners and neighbours.
Is it hard to look after a crocodile?
I think looking after any animal that has the potential to seriously injure its owner has to go into the “hard” basket and doing so should only be attempted with by serious reptile handler and enthusiast, certainly don’t get a crocodile on a whim.
Without wishing to be glib, a crocodile is going to have much the same care requirements as a turtle except on a much larger scale and with the added requirement to ensure that the enclosure is crocodile proof.
That means you’ll need to provide a large expanse of warm filtered water, a constant heat supply and basking area. A fenced enclosure area for your crocodile to move about in. Your crocodile will require access to sunlight in order to absorb vitamin D in UV light which is required for its health.
Rest assured visits to the vet will be an experience for everyone involved. You, the vet, and the other people in the waiting room. That is of course if you can even find a vet with crocodile experience. Naturally, it would be much preferable to find a vet who does home visits.
Should I get a freshwater croc for a saltwater croc?
It really depends on you. Many owners report that in fact, it is the freshwater crocodiles that have the more angry demeanour when a young so if you are only keeping your croc until its 60 cm long perhaps a saltwater crocodile would be more appropriate. Bear in mind a saltwater croc is going to reach 60cm in length much faster than freshwater croc. If you are interested in keeping a crocodile into adulthood(it – not you, I am assuming you are already an adult) then you need to consider whether you are going to be other do practically house a saltwater crocodile that may well grow to 5 m or more in length.
Any health issues only to look out for?
As with all reptiles, crocodiles require a diet high in calcium in UV light for proper bone development. Don’t feed your crocodile just meat -ensure that the meat comes with bones to best emulate the.your crocodile is likely to it in the wild young crocodiles live on a diet of small fish, juvenile waterbirds, insects, frogs, lizards and the like which they eat whole. Feathers, skin, bones and all which provide a rich source of calcium so don’t think that your crocodile requires its feed to be plucked, filleted, peeled or deboned.
Ensure you do not overfeed your crocodile. An obese crocodile is an unhealthy crocodile. Food can also spoil their water and cause health problems.
Clearly owning a crocodile is not for everyone. They grow into large potentially very dangerous animals. Don’t for one moment think that every minute of owning a crocodile will be exciting. Crocodiles spend much of their time doing nothing at all. They need to be fed rarely and carefully. Building and maintaining a suitable enclosure to how the large crocodile is then to be expensive.
But as I write this article putting out all the hurdles you’ll have to jump to own a crocodile I must admit – gee like to have one too!