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Top End croc captures soar after big wet

AAP logoAAP 7/06/2017 Lucy Hughes Jones

Crocodile catches in the Top End have skyrocketed after Territorians sweltered through the third wettest wet season on record. © AAP Image Crocodile catches in the Top End have skyrocketed after Territorians sweltered through the third wettest wet season on record. A 66 per cent spike in crocodile catches in the Top End in the past year after a bumper wet season has put Territorians and tourists at higher risk of encountering the predators.

Rangers captured 181 'salties' around Darwin and Katherine in the first six months of 2017, compared to 108 this time last year, according to the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The region recorded its third wettest wet season on record, which has connected major river systems and allowed crocs to move around more freely, Chief Ranger Tom Nichols says.

He says rangers have their work cut out for them removing reptiles from water holes as the dry season gets into full swing and tourist numbers swell.

Many popular spots in the Kakadu, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National parks are taking longer than normal to open for swimming.

"You've got permanent water supplies there with a good food source, so crocs stay there," Mr Nichols said.

"And the amount of people and kids that go swimming and fishing, they're coming in contact with crocodiles and this can be quite dangerous."

Mr Nichols said interactions between humans and crocs are becoming more frequent, although the croc population has plateaued.

He expects croc movement to slow down in the coming colder months, but warned Territorians and visitors to remain vigilant.

"I was born here and there's certainly places I used to swim when I was a kid that I wouldn't go to now," Mr Nichols said.

"People have got to be crocwise, whether you're walking along beachfronts or in freshwater waterways."

The Northern Territory government Be Crocwise strategy can be viewed online at www.becrocwise.nt.gov.au.

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