Friday, December 30, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 8

It's time for Episode 8 (the real one) of the CrocLog Podcast, recorded at the end of November so we're pretty much back on schedule.

No interview this time, but instead in this episode Adam talks about his experience in the Philippines measuring Lolong the world's largest crocodile, Brandon describes the outcomes of the La Manzanilla Crocodile Workshop, we discuss recovering populations of crocodiles in South America and elsewhere, and chat about the implications of escaped crocodiles in Thailand. We catch up on the latest crocodile news, attacks, and a couple of recent TV shows.

Below you'll find links to some of the stories that we discuss.

Friday, December 16, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 7

Episode 7 is now ready to be heard. Brandon and I recorded this one back in August while driving from Darwin to Kakadu National Park. We ended up calling it a "roadcast". The sound quality isn't quite as good as normal, but it's quite atmospheric. You'll hear that I refer to this as Episode 8 in the introduction. Please ignore that, it's definitely Episode 7.

Again the news items that we discuss happened back in August, but they are not time-sensitive and the discussion is still relevant. In this episode I interview Brad Bestelink and Andrea Crawford, two wildlife film-makers based in Botswana. Brad and Andy pioneered safe diving techniques with wild Nile crocodiles, as seen in "Into the Dragon's Lair" and their own film "Diving with Crocodiles". Brad and Andy invited me out to investigate this further, and I got a little more than I bargained for! The interview was conducted before I flew back to Australia. Brandon and I discuss diving with crocodiles in some detail, and we also discuss predatory encounters between crocodiles and tigers, other crocodiles, and even buffalo that turn the tables on crocodiles, and of course the inevitable encounters between crocodiles and people.

Friday, December 09, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 6

 At long last, we're getting the CrocLog podcast up and running again. We had a bit of a hiatus for the last 6 months, mostly because I've been extremely busy and hardly in Darwin at all, which has made recording and editing podcasts a little difficult.

But now we're going to make up for that. We have not one, nor two, but three podcasts recorded and ready for you to hear. The first two were recorded over the last few months, but neither Brandon nor I had the time to edit them together properly. But no longer! And the third podcast was recorded last week, and contains quite a bit of great info about Lolong the world's largest crocodile. I still have to finish editing that one.

I'm not going to dump them all on you at once. There's only so much you can take of us talking crocs, I reckon, so here's the first one - Episode 6 - to be followed over the next few days by Episodes 7 and 8.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Accurate length measurement for Lolong

Last Thursday 10 November 2011 at the request of National Geographic and with the consent of local officials I had the opportunity to measure Lolong, potentially the world's largest crocodile. Several news articles are misreporting the correct measurement, so I thought you'd like to hear the correct figure directly from me. I'll post a more detailed report when I'm able to do so, hopefully together with some impressive photos.

Lolong's total length was 6.17 metres, which is 20 feet 3 inches (20.25 feet). As a pure-bred saltwater crocodile, this certainly makes him the largest living crocodile in captivity. This is not an official Guinness record yet, there is a procedure that we have to go through before they can make a final decision, but we have all the required evidence for it. It will be several months before a decision is final.

Sorry Cassius!

I can also report that Lolong is in very good health, and is without doubt the most beautifully impressive crocodile I've ever seen.

-- Adam Britton

Friday, September 16, 2011

You don't want your unique, endemic species anymore?

This kind of story is tragic and sad, but typical of the problems faced with conservation of crocodiles. The Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) is considered perhaps the most endangered of all the species, with less than 100 individuals remaining in the wild and considerable pressure on its remaining habitat. Yet there are now estimated to be 7,000 Philippine crocodiles in captivity, more than enough to help replenish wild populations before they disappear forever. The problem is getting permission to release them. It seems nobody in a position to grant this permission wants any Philippine crocodiles released back into the wild, based on unfounded fears that these crocodiles may start to kill people (there has not been a single documented attack by a Philippine crocodile on a human recorded). There has always been confusion in the Philippines between the Philippine crocodile and the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the admittedly rare attacks by the latter species have unfortunately also tarred the reputation of the former.

Yet it should be clear to anyone in the Philippines of the value of crocodiles to their country, on a week after the world's largest saltwater crocodile was captured and placed into captivity for the purposes of tourism and education about crocodiles. Perhaps those same officials who refuse to consider releasing an endemic and unique crocodile, a species that should be a source of national pride for their country (and international derision should it be allowed to disappear forever), should read their own newspapers and realise how important (and valuable) crocodiles can be for a country that is lucky enough to still have them.

AFP: No place for crocodiles in Philippines: official:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nile crocodile is two species : Nature News

Still waiting for the formal description, but very interesting implications for Nile crocodiles.

Nile crocodile is two species : Nature News:

'via Blog this'

UPDATE: Here's a link to the recently-published paper by Hekkala et al.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

More on the giant Philippine saltwater crocodile

I've had a look at several photographs of that giant Philippine saltwater crocodile, not to mention a few videos, and I must admit that's probably the largest crocodile I've seen. There's a good chance that this one isn't an exaggeration, although I'd still like to see the measurement and weight independently verified to be certain. I'm so used to reading stories with exaggerated crocodile lengths, that when a genuine enormous crocodile does surface it can be difficult to accept at face value. But from what I've seen, I'd be prepared to believe this one. It's certainly at least 18 feet long, bigger than Cassius, and hopefully it really is 21 feet (6.4 metres). There has been some doubt raised about the weight, but there's so little information on the weights of large crocodiles out that that size extrapolations from existing datasets are likely to be inaccurate for very large crocs. I have a feeling we'll be getting some independent verification soon. I'll keep you posted, but it's pretty exciting to see such a huge crocodile regardless of the actual figure attached to it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Why so quiet?

Hi there, my name is Adam! You might remember me from this blog which I used to update more regularly, and the CrocLog Podcast which was going pretty well there for a while. Well the truth is I've had an extremely busy few months, and I've got plenty of cool stories to tell, photos to show you, and videos to share. But right now I'm going away again. Tomorrow in fact, to an isolated island with no internet. However, very cool stuff is going to be happening there which of course I can't tell you about. Yet. My life has suddenly become very mysterious.

Be assured though that I'll be back! Meanwhile, Brandon continues to update the Facebook page with photos, stories and news reports so check that out for your croc fix. I'll check in at the end of the month hopefully.

In the meantime, I'll just leave you with this very cool picture of Smaug. I'll let you figure out how I took it.

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines | AP | 09/05/2011

Most giant crocodile news stories are gross over-exaggerations or media hype, but this one is undoubtedly a large crocodile. Is it really as big as they say though? I'd like to see the actual measurement of course.

Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines | AP | 09/05/2011:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NT News strikes again

[UPDATE] See the comments section below, the NT News is claiming that the original photo is real and the "real" photo of the smaller croc has been faked! That's certainly unusual, as it's normally the larger crocodile that's the exaggeration in stories like this. But thanks guys for responding to this and clearing it up.

Check out this photo and story of a monster crocodile being jumped on the Adelaide River.

Monster croc shock | Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia |

Impressive, yes? Well actually, it's been manipulated. Here's a comparison of the version that appeared in the NT News [left] and the actual photo [right] (thanks to Brandon Sideleau for finding this).

I've got to hand it to them, it's quite a neat Photoshop job.

But that's not really the point of this post. What I'd like to draw attention to is just how remarkably dangerous these jumping crocodile cruises are becoming. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the principle of showing tourists wild crocodile behaviour when it's done safely and responsibly, especially considering that crocodiles need all the good publicity they can get. Indeed, some of the licensed cruises who've been doing this for years have strict rules about safety. But the above photo is a fine illustration of how not to do it right, and it's certainly not an isolated incident. I've seen what happens when crocs next to boats slam their jaws sideways into the railings or gunnels. All it takes is for someone to be leaning over the edge like this photographer is doing, or simply to be resting their hand or arm on the top of the railing, and if the croc decides not to play nice then a tourist who doesn't appreciate what these animals are capable of is going to lose more than their pride. If that happens then the Adelaide River's famous jumping crocodiles will very likely become a thing of the past.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The croc man Elton Waina's creed: to kill and protect | The Australian

This is an interesting story concerning the balance between Traditional values and conservation in northern Australia. It's worth a read because conservation is a complex beast and thinking outside the box is often required.

The croc man Elton Waina's creed: to kill and protect | The Australian

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nature at work: Crocodile snacks on turtle in Cape York river- Local Cairns News |

Fascinating photos of a saltwater crocodile eating a sea turtle in Cape York. We've seen plenty of evidence of crocodiles stalking nesting turtles on coastal islands and other nesting beaches before, but it's great to see it in action.

Nature at work: Crocodile snacks on turtle in Cape York river- Local Cairns News |

Monday, May 09, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 5

After a slightly longer than anticipated interval, the fifth episode of the CrocLog podcast is now available. To make up for it, this is the longest episode yet. By 6 minutes. Ok, that's not a great incentive, but the real reason you should listen is because it's a great episode and there's a special croc-related offer hidden in there somewhere.

I'm joined again by Brandon Sideleau, a wildlife photographer based in California, for a discussion of the latest crocodile news and television shows. There's a great interview with John Brueggen, the Director of the St Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida, plus the usual mix of crocodile news, science and TV show discussion.

Here's a list of links to those stories available online that we discuss in the podcast:

1. First Indian gharial breeding in US

2. Bhirtikanika crocodile deaths

3. Crocodile poaching claims in Australia

4. Mugger crocodile attack in India

5. Suicide by crocodile

6. First American crocodile attack in Florida

7. Diving with Crocodiles

8. St Augustine Alligator Farm

Enjoy the podcast, and as usual please send any questions or comments you have to us. If you have a specific croc question you'd like us to address, please let us know in the comments here. You can also join the discussion on the Facebook page.

Direct link / Download

iTunes link


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 4

The fourth episode of the CrocLog podcast is now available. My internet connection is still best described as "flaky". I had to glue a few pieces of the discussion back together after Skype disconnected us several times, but it all worked out in the end.

I'm joined as usual by Brandon Sideleau, a wildlife photographer based in California, for a discussion of the latest crocodile news and television shows. Brandon also conducted a great interview with Cherie and Vince Rose of ACES (American Crocodile Education Sanctuary) where they discuss the difficulties and dangers of the crocodile education and management work they conduct in Belize. I'm very keen to hear more from Cherie and Vince on the work they're doing down there, and I'll try and chase them down for another interview on this blog at some point.

Here's a list of links to all the stories we discuss in the podcast:

1. Bhitarkanika Population Rebound

2. Alligator Guarding Drugs

3. Caiman Guarding Drugs

4. Frozen Dwarf Crocodile

5. Cell Phone Croc

6. Attack in Brunei

7. Tom Bairstow Attack

8. Edie Sigai Attack

9. 14 year old Arnhem Land boy

10. Fatal Attractions Crocodile

11. ACES Primary Link

Enjoy the podcast, and of course please send any questions or comments you have to us. If you have a specific croc question you'd like us to address, please let us know in the comments here. You can also join the discussion on the Facebook page.

Direct link / Download

iTunes link


Friday, February 25, 2011

CrocLog Podcast - Episode 3

At last, here's Episode 3 of the CrocLog Podcast. Why so late? Well unfortunately we got hit by Cyclone Carlos recently and, while it wasn't any great shakes in the grand scheme of things, it did drop a record amount of rain on Darwin. We ended up with a lot of flooding around the place, trees down, power lines and telephone services interrupted etc. We finally have our phones back, but the internet is still highly unreliable. But adversity breeds determination, and it's finally uploaded.

So I'm joined again by Brandon Sideleau, a wildlife photographer based in California, and I interview Rod King who's head Thamarrurr ranger at Wadeye about crocodile egg collection training. Brandon and I discuss recent crocodile news, including some good news for the gharial, we chat about vegetarian crocodiles (no, really) and Brandon reviews a couple of recent documentaries.

Don't forget if you have any questions about the podcast, anything you'd like us to answer in future episodes, or just any general comments about it please let us know in the comments here. You can also join the discussion on the Facebook page.

I can't easily link to story from this podcast due to my internet problems, sorry about that, but we'll get right back onto that next time.

Direct link / Download

iTunes link