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Kit coverAn Education Kit for Grades 5 - 7

Information Sheet

crocs on show


Hartleys Creek Crocodile Farm - a tourist attraction

Tourist parks enable people to get up
close and personal with crocs.

90 000 people each year visit Hartleys Creek Crocodile Farm, 40km north of Cairns. Hartleys Creek Crocodile Farm first opened in 1933 as a road house and 'Charlie' the croc was bought in 1934. Farming began in 1988.

Farm staff believe that if crocodiles are used commercially, they will be conserved. Crocs are valuable for their skins which are made into products such as handbags and shoes. Many people argue that unless we 'use it', we will 'lose it'.

Today crocs are also valuable as a tourist attraction. Tourism is an important industry in Far North Queensland. Over 3 500 000 international visitors come to this area each year.


Surveys of visitors show that they come to tropical north Queensland for many reasons. Seeing wildlife is an important reason for many visitors (see Graph 1).

Many international visitors visit Hartleys Creek. Seeing a croc in the wild can be difficult but visitors to Hartleys Creek are not disappointed. There are hundreds of large crocodiles on display. The biggest males are about 5m long although the females are smaller.

They are fed whole chickens once each week in summer (about 3kg per week) and in winter they eat much less (less than 1kg each week). Visitors can also see crocodile nests and young crocs.

Graph 1

Hartley's Creek
Hartley's Creek

Keepers give talks showing crocodile behaviour. Visitors see the crocodile 'roll' that is used to knock their prey off balance and to tear pieces off the carcass. Crocs cannot use their teeth to bite and cut. Visitors also see the croc `headshake' which is used to tear off bite size pieces when feeding.

The farm breeds crocodiles but baby crocs are very easily stressed so they are not on show for visitors. The farm does not collect crocodiles from the wild but breeds their own.

Hartleys Creek helps visitors to learn that crocs are fascinating animals and need to be respected.

Feeding time at Hartley's Creek
Feeding time at
Hartley's Creek
Perils in paradise

The glossy brochures paint a picture of swaying palms, blue skies, tropical rainforests and famous reefs. But do tourists know they are coming to one of the world's most perilous zones?

They can be bitten, poisoned, stung, attacked and eaten by unfriendly wildlife!

Why would anyone want to visit? Crocs inhabit our creeks. Jellyfish infest our coastal waters. Mossies drink our blood and make us sick. Cassowaries pack a powerful kick. A brush with the wrong tree can be very painful. Large reef fish can be poisonous to eat. Deadly cone shells lie in wait on the reef.

Tourists come to tropical north Queensland looking for a paradise. But do they know what they will find? For example, living side by side with crocs is not very comfortable, for them or for us! And yet more and more of us want to move into their patch.

All tourists should beware the perils of our tropical wildlife! (taken from Cairns Post, 11 April 1998)

Perfect one day?

Deadly the next!

croc home page © Copyright 2000
Marine Education Society of Australasia
Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld 



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