This paper describes predation tactics used by the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) on flatback (Natator depressus) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles on nesting beaches in northern Australia. For adult turtles, crocodiles used both a sit-and-wait tactic in which they attacked a turtle at the water's edge after it completed nesting and an active hunting strategy in which crocodiles followed turtle tracks into the dunes to attack turtles at nest sites. Saltwater crocodiles also hunted sea turtle hatchlings in the dunes and excavated a sea turtle nest and consumed the eggs. The protection of saltwater crocodiles in Australia starting in the early 1970s has led to increased population sizes and a greater proportion of larger individuals. This likely has resulted in increased predation rates on sea turtles over several decades, which should be considered as an important mortality component for some tropical nesting aggregations.
olive ridley turtle