Kakadu is a place of enormous biological diversity. Within the vast landscapes, there are six main landforms. These landforms are home to a range of plants and animals, endemic to Kakadu.
Our rangers do lots of work to protect these rare and fascinating species.
Meet a few of our special resident animals:
There are around 10,000 crocodiles in Kakadu - a tenth of all the crocs in the Northern Territory!
We have two types - freshwater crocs that grow up to three metres long, and the ‘salties’ (estuarine crocodiles) that can grow to a whopping six metres.
Freshwater crocs have a narrow snout and a single row of four large ‘scutes’ right behind their head. Salties have a broader snout and no scutes.
The best way to safely see crocodiles is by going on a commercial boat cruise or from a high point, like Cahill’s crossing viewing platform. The dry season is the best time to see them as they concentrate in shrinking water bodies.
Remember - wherever there’s water, there might be crocs! Be cautious near rivers and billabongs, and pay attention to croc warning signs.
This colourful grasshopper is an icon in Kakadu - it only lives in three places in the world, and this is one of them.
It’s named after the explorer, Ludwig Leichhardt who reported great numbers of them as he travelled through the area in 1845.
It is a sign of the changing seasons at Kakadu - it comes out in December/January each year, with the first rains of the monsoon season.
Aboriginal people call the grasshopper Alyurr, meaning children of the lightning man, Namarrgon, a powerful ancestral being. The Kakadu region has one of the highest incidences of lightning in the world. Namarrgon is commonly depicted in the region&395;s rock art with axes hanging from his body, which he uses to strike the clouds.
Our poor northern quolls are having a hard time. Across northern Australia, this native mammal is battling for survival against cane toads and feral predators such as cats and wild dogs. Here in Kakadu, we’re partnering with scientists to try and save our quolls.
Some of our quolls are trained to be ‘toad smart’, so they don’t try to eat the poisonous cane toads, and then they’re released into the wild in Kakadu. The quolls teach their babies the same habits, so even their kids avoid the toads. It’s a great step in protecting this endangered species, and shows what great things science can do!
Gardangarl (Field Island) lies at the mouth of the South Alligator river, where Kakadu meets the sea. It is a critical habitat for flatback turtles.
Every year teams of Kakadu staff, traditional owners and conservation volunteers camp on Field Island over a three week period to study the turtles as they come ashore to nest. Surveying began in the 1980s and has continued annually since 1994.
The study helps us understand the species and their movements, and to monitor the effects of threats such as climate change. Our research indicates that the population of female turtles that continuously return to Field Island remains stable. The data we collect is pivotal in monitoring flatback turtle populations in our region and around the country.
Tips for watching wildlife
Follow these handy tips to increase your chance of encountering some of Kakadu’s abundant wildlife.
- Early morning and sunset are good times to see wildlife.
- Use a torch at night to look for nocturnal animals. Be careful not to shine strong spotlights onto sleeping birds.
- Look for clues to where animals have been, especially tracks, scats (droppings) and scratchings.
- Waterholes along creeklines attract animals. Sit quietly to avoid disturbing them.
- Animals are often heard before they are seen. Walk quietly, listen and watch for movement.
- Use binoculars to get a closer look.
- Look out for animals such as lizards and snakes crossing roads.
- Do not approach, disturb or feed wildlife.
- Saltwater crocodiles live in Kakadu waters. People have died and been severely injured by crocs in the park. Please pay attention to crocodile warning signs.
- Snakes, pigs and buffaloes can also be dangerous. Keep well away from them.