2.5m long freshwater crocodile spotted lounging on banks of Lake Tinaroo. Photo: Michael Gregory
2.5m long freshwater crocodile spotted lounging on banks of Lake Tinaroo. Photo: Michael Gregory

Camper snaps proof of chunky croc

IT'S not just the fish that are growing fat in Lake Tinaroo - the crocs are, too.

Edmonton resident Michael Gregory snapped a photo of a chunky-looking freshwater crocodile lounging on the banks of the Tablelands lake, near the Platypus camping ground.

Mr Gregory, who went camping with mates at the lake last weekend, said he couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted the croc last Friday.

"I've always heard that there was freshies there, but I've gone up there a lot and never, ever seen one.

"So we were super-excited to see it."

To the untrained eye, the robust reptile may appear to resemble the more dangerous saltwater species of crocodile.

However Mr Gregory, who got within 1.5m of the animal, assured it was definitely a freshwater croc.

He said he was surprised by how large the predator was, estimating it to be about 2.5m long.

2.5m long freshwater crocodile spotted lounging on banks of Lake Tinaroo. Photo: Michael Gregory
2.5m long freshwater crocodile spotted lounging on banks of Lake Tinaroo. Photo: Michael Gregory

"Everything in Tinaroo just seems to be massive: barramundi, sooty grunters, and apparently the crocs, too," he said.

Freshwater crocodiles have been spotted at Tinaroo in the past, however, it is rare to have photographic evidence of the shy animals.

Tinaroo Canoe Club vice president Greg Woon, who has lived opposite the Platypus camping area for 15 years, said he had never seen any crocs in the lake, only slide marks.

"It's unusual to see one, particularly at this time of year," he said. According to the Wet Tropics Management Authority, the animals have been dumped there several decades ago, as they are not known to occur naturally in the region.

Mr Woon did not believe the freshwater croc should be removed, as it did not pose a problem.

"It's never been a concern to us, considering the massive amount of activity in the lake, with people skiing and that sort of thing," he said.

"With (freshwater crocs), they only ever attack people when they have been cornered."