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More than 200 NT crocs captured in 2016

AAP logoAAP 2/01/2017 Lucy Hughes Jones

A massive 4.4m crocodile was the largest of more than 200 saltwater crocodiles captured in Northern Territory waterways last year.

Ranger Tom Nichols removed the predator from the remote outback Tipperary Station in August after it ate some cattle in the popular fishing area.

"Some are crankier than others but he was fairly good," Mr Nicols, of the Parks and Wildlife Commission, told AAP.

"We set a trap and it was just a matter of a snout rope, tying him up and we gave him a little bit of drugs to put him on the trailer."

Rangers pulled out 223 salties in 2016 - a significant decline from 290 the year before.

Mr Nichols chalks that up to two lousy wet seasons, but this holiday season has been wetter than normal as monsoonal conditions kick in.

Most national parks in the Top End are now closed due to croc safety and flooding concerns.

Mr Nichols described it as a "very concerning" time of year as river systems join up, and he urged the public to remain vigilant.

"Remember that a crocodile will see you before you see them," he said.

"Saltwater crocodiles were removed from many parts of the Territory, including Darwin Harbour, the northern suburbs as well as tidal creeks and inlets, meaning they could be anywhere at any time."

A brave woman snatched her dog back from the jaws of a croc at a waterway in suburban Darwin on Christmas Eve, while another reptile became roadkill after it wandered onto a busy Darwin street the week before.

And seven people were rescued from croc-infested waters at Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu earlier in December after their car was washed off a flooded road.

Salties can inhabit freshwater systems, billabongs and low areas subject to flooding.

Mr Nichols has been in the game for nearly 37 years and says the risks have become much higher.

Crocodiles were hunted to near extinction in the NT after the Second World War, with only about 3000 left in the wild in 1971 when they became a protected species.

Numbers have since exploded up to 100,000 in the Top End, but rangers believe the population has now plateaued.

The record removal of 318 crocs in 2012 still stands, and the largest one Mr Nichols ever caught was 5.5m.

After the reptiles are captured they're delivered to local crocodile farms for breeding or are harvested for their skins.

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