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Brave turtle and Ross River croc strike up unlikely friendship

Natasha Emeck, July 14, 2022 7:00PM Kids News

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Ross the croc was snapped with a turtle friend on his back beside the Ross River in the Townsville suburb of Douglas, northeast Queensland. Picture: Kane Wiblen media_cameraRoss the croc was snapped with a turtle friend on his back beside the Ross River in the Townsville suburb of Douglas, northeast Queensland. Picture: Kane Wiblen

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A fearless turtle appears to have struck up an unlikely friendship with a crocodile in northeast Queensland, with locals snapping a picture of it riding on the croc’s back.

Townsville resident Kane Wiblen spotted the 2m croc – known as Ross the Croc by locals – with a turtle friend on his back along the Ross River near the Douglas Park at about 1.30pm on Sunday, July 10.

The sighting followed reports of a similar-sized croc seen basking* in the sun with a turtle on its back on the river near the neighbouring suburb of Annadale last week.

“We were just on the lookout for some turtles when a few other locals in the area said that there’s a crocodile nearby, so we went on a bit of a hunt,” Mr Wiblen said.

“When we spotted him, he had a turtle on his back, so I quickly took a photo before the turtle eventually jumped off his back and went back in the water.”

"Ross the Croc" was snapped with a turtle on his back along the Ross River near Douglas Park on Sunday. Picture: Kane Wiblen media_cameraTownsville resident Kane Wiblen said the crocodile and the turtle didn’t seem fazed by each other’s presence. Picture: Kane Wiblen

Mr Wiblen said he was still trying to make sense of the unlikely animal friendship.

“There were two turtles on the log with that croc, and about five minutes after they jumped off the log, they just hopped back up again and sat next to him,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the attraction was to hanging around on the back of a crocodile but they didn’t seem fazed*. They were a bit fearless, I think.”

"Ross the Croc" was snapped with a turtle on his back along the Ross River near Douglas Park on Sunday. Picture: Kane Wiblen media_cameraTwo turtles joined Ross the Croc on a log on the bank of the Ross River in Townsville, Queensland. Picture: Kane Wiblen

Professor Graham Webb, one of the world’s top experts in croc conservation, said he had never seen behaviour quite like it.

Prof Webb said the unusually cold weather might explain the unlikely friendship.

“Turtles are a favourite food of saltwater crocs in freshwater areas,” he said.

“Perhaps it is so cold that the crocs are concentrating on getting warm by basking rather than feeding.”

GLOSSARY

  • basking: lying or sitting in the sun to enjoy its warmth
  • fazed: upset, bothered

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What river were the turtle and the croc sitting beside?
  2. How bit was the crocodile?
  3. What nickname have locals given the croc?
  4. What is Professor Graham Webb an expert in?
  5. What does Professor Webb think might explain the unlikely friendship?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Tell the real story
How did Ross the Croc and the turtle become friends? Write a story describing what you think really happened. Your story could be based on the scientific information in the story or you could write something completely imaginative.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science

2. Extension
Do you think that, when the weather gets warmer, Ross the Croc and the turtle might not be friends anymore, or do you think their unlikely friendship could stay strong?

Write sentences explaining your opinion. Use information in the story to help you.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science

VCOP ACTIVITY
Imaginative dialogue
Create a conversation between the turtle and the crocodile as they bask in the sun beside the Ross River.

Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

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