The new daily training forms a key part of Dangalabba’s enrichment program and provides him with new opportunities to flex his croc muscles and get some physical exercise.
It uses a positive reinforcement technique, where he is encouraged to swim to the edge of his pool, haul out onto the grass and then enjoy a tasty treat of fish or kangaroo meat.
Senior Keeper, Emily Greenhalgh, said: “We developed this training program to ensure Dangalabba had a fresh challenge to tackle every day to provide mental stimulation and also get him moving.
“Crocodiles will feed both in the water and on land, so his training program emulates the variety he might experience in the wild.
“We introduced the new program in December and it’s great to see he has picked it up very quickly and is very engaged.
“Visitors are welcome to watch it in action themselves during the free crocodile keeper talk at 1pm every day.”
Dangalabba is a relatively new resident at Perth Zoo, having made the journey down from a crocodile farm in Broome 2019.
At around 41 years old, Dangalabba is considered a middle-aged croc as the species can reach about 70 years in captivity.
While crocodiles were once a threatened species, protective legislation introduced in the 1970s enabled numbers to be replenished, and now encouragingly, the conservation status is considered Least Concern.
Training programs like Dangalabba’s play an important role in the lives of all Perth Zoo’s animals.
Each animal enrichment program is carefully curated for a species or individual animal to ensure it is mentally challenging while encouraging them to utilize their natural behaviours and instincts in the wild.
All training programs are choice-based, ensuring the animal always chooses to be involved or can ignore the training if uninterested.
These programs are another example of the excellent care provided to each and every Perth Zoo resident by our dedicated animal care givers.
Find out more about Estuarine Crocodiles here.