UC Sport Study Tour: Crocodile Farm


Wednesday was Croc Day, a day at Hartley’s Crocodile Farm. The day sta
rted with a beautiful drive up the coast along some picturesque beaches including Ellis Beach which the group received books about a few days before.
Australian Birds, Jabirus

The Crocodile farm promised one thing that many students were hanging out for, a chance to cuddle a koala, but that was once of the last adventures of the day, and many more happened along the way. The day started with some crocodile feeding. The size and power of the “Salties” was amazing. The group was told of how salt water crocodiles can generate a jaw pressure of around 3000 pounds/square inch (comparisons to Rottweiler ~300 and Great White Sharks ~600) generating a gunshot sound on the snap. The crocodiles were on show were up to 5m in length, weighing around 700kg and up to 100 years in age. The tour continued with a cruise on the man-made lagoon with the tempting of crocodiles to jump for food for that great photo.

Lunch included Australian “tucker” with burger options of “Barra”, “Roo” or “Croc”. The Croc was most popular although some struggled with morale dilemmas of eating what was peering at them from the nearby waters. The discomfort for many continued, as the true meaning of “Crocodile Farm” was revealed. Just like other farms, crocodiles are produced at Hartley’s to service a market (mainly the leather for fashion products). The production line caused discomfort for many as the steps in the process were discussed. It takes ~5 years to grow a crocodile to the size that provides “aesthetically pleasing” leather.  This farming does reduce the stress on illegal crocodile hunting which in the 1950’s and 60’s (not illegal at the time) resulted in ~350,000 skins being sent overseas.
Australian meat lunch
Farming

The lazy but cute Koala
Away from the farm the entertainment resumed with snake shows, cassowary feedings and a “Crocodile Attack show”. The Attack show featured an adrenaline filled bone tingling display with lots of death rolls, head shakes and plenty of snaps. At times it appeared that the guide was putting his life at the mercy of the 350 kg “Bart” as the spectator stress remained high for much of the show. The day finished with a popular koala patting and photo opportunity.

Apart from some animal physiology and anatomy, there was little sport, but lots of Australian culture on offer. Next the group turns to a much more active white-water rafting trip.

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