Croc Swap

By: Lachlan Manning, Category: At The Museum, Date: 24 Jun 2014

Recently we swapped two young Freshwater Crocodiles, Crocodylus johnstoni, for two new hatchling crocodiles in Surviving Australia.

This was done because the older crocodiles had grown too large for their exhibit. This process involved catching the crocodiles, boxing them for travel, getting them on a plane and a complete clean of the crocodile enclosure.

The Australian Museum has been keeping and displaying young live Freshwater Crocodiles for six years now. “Live animals are the most effective way to communicate animal behaviour to Museum Visitors,” says Chris Hosking, Interpretive Officer and Animal Keeper at the Australian Museum.

A crocodile farm in Queensland had accepted to send the Museum two younger crocodiles in exchange for the older animals. So the crocodiles were caught up and restrained in individual tubes which fit tight inside crates. “This allows the animals to sit comfortably without being injured,” said Chris. The crocs were then put on the plane to sunny Queensland, leaving the Museum staff to clean up after them.

“This has been a busy few weeks,” Chris added. Before the arrival of the new babies, the enclosure at the Museum had to have a complete detail clean. We removed all fixtures and furniture, including the top panels and lighting.

Once the exhibit water was drained; all enclosure fixtures and furniture was removed and cleaned separately. We also used the opportunity to cleaned out the filters. Lots of river stones and sludge were removed, everything was hosed down and then we got to bucket out more sludge!

After much hard work, the exhibit was finally clean and fresh water was replaced – just add crocodiles.

The new baby crocodiles flew in to Sydney Airport a couple of days after the originals were sent back. They were removed from their crates, examined and weighed. “They were a bit snappy; that’s usually a good sign of health,” Chris jokes. They were then placed into their new home in the Museum with new names. You can meet Chaos and Mayhem at the Australian Museum in the Surviving Australia exhibition.