The photo, shared by the government agency on Wednesday, shows the predator hidden in plain sight, with only one glassy, yellow eye signalling the creature’s presence in the mud.
“Eye see you,” warned the wildlife agency in its caption for the photograph, clicked by a local named Rodney Fischer near the Northern Territory and West Australian border.
“Remember, you are in croc country.”
“The mud has eyes,” wrote Facebook user Joh-Marg Gridham in a comment on the post. “This is how I’ll die. I honestly couldn’t see anything,” wrote another user.
The Pacific continent’s saltwater crocodiles are often found in freshwater bodies such as estuaries and are known to travel inland. They are also known for their remarkable ability to camouflage in the open. During the wet season, the reptiles become almost invisible in the mud and in shallow waters.
Their eyes are at the top of their heads, a trait that helps them see when they are submerged and their nostrils are at the top of their snouts, enabling an acute sense of smell.
The reptiles have been protected by the Australian government since the 1970s when their numbers plummeted to 3,000. At present, there are an estimated 100,000 crocodiles across northern Australia, according to government data. Saltwater crocodiles are the world’s largest living reptiles with males growing to around 23 feet.
Recently in October, a 14-foot crocodile was captured in Australia near a swimming and fishing hole popular with children.
Earlier in February, human remains were found inside another 14-foot crocodile captured by authorities in Queensland. The body was believed to belong to a fisherman who had gone missing.
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