Croc courtship gets ‘snappier’ at Koorana Crocodile Farm as mating season leaps ahead in Queensland, Australia

Photo by Thomas Couillard on Unsplash.

In a rather ‘snappy’ turn of events, the crocodile mating season at the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Queensland, Australia, has kicked off earlier than its usual schedule this year.

The farm’s owner, John Lever, is attributing this unconventional phenomenon to the frequent flyovers of military helicopters.

The farm, which plays host to a colossal population of over 3,000 crocodiles, happens to nestle right beneath the flight path of joint Australian and Singaporean military training operations. These high-flying exercises seem to have stirred up quite the ‘reptilian romance’ below!

According to Lever, the low-flying Chinook helicopters seem to stimulate the male crocodiles into a mating frenzy.

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“As a result, all the male crocodiles roared into the sky. And after the helicopter took off They breed like crazy. There’s something about sound waves that makes them very alert. I don’t know if it was the sound of the propellers or the frequency from the helicopter. But it seemed to make the young crocodile’s temper flare up.”

Crocodile expert Cameron Baker from Charles Darwin University believes the crocodiles might mistake the sound of the helicopters for the call of a competing male.

“Helicopter flight may generate very low-frequency sound waves. And that might coincidentally be similar to the sound of a large male crocodile roaring ‘Hey! This is my place.’ We are still not sure what sounds and communications they use.”

Atmospheric changes

On the other hand, Professor Craig Franklin, an animal expert from the University of Queensland, suggested that the low level of the helicopter’s flight might replicate the atmospheric changes associated with a thunderstorm, which often signals the start of the mating season.

“Another possibility could be the low-frequency sound produced by the helicopter. We don’t know what happened on the farm. But our research shows that in the field they respond when it rains. And of course, it usually has to do with changes in atmospheric pressure.”

Lever stated that helicopters are often seen in the area due to the Singapore Armed Forces conducting bilateral military training operations in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

The pilots use the crocodile farm as a marker point. However, the impact of these flights on the behaviour of the crocodiles is now an intriguing subject for further research, reported Khaosod.

The early onset of the crocodiles’ mating season at the Koorana Crocodile Farm seems to be linked to the frequent flyovers of military helicopters. While the exact cause remains uncertain, the event provides a fascinating insight into the potential impact of human activity on wildlife behaviour.

In related news, earlier this year in June, the world’s largest crocodile celebrated his 120th birthday in Australia. Read HERE to find out more!

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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