General Reading Mock test section 3 The Saltwater Crocodiles of Australia

SECTION 3 Questions 29 – 40
Read the following passage and answer Questions 29 – 40.

The Saltwater Crocodiles of Australia

What’s the world’s largest reptile? It’s a saltwater crocodile. Crocodiles have been on this
planet for tens of millions of years – far longer than us! Many animals are unfairly feared through
ignorance as a danger to humans but the saltwater crocodiles wholly deserve the fear and
the respect given to them by people living near them. The large saltwater crocodile has taken
the lives of many unsuspecting men, women, children, their pets and livestock. By maturity
saltwater crocs can reach between 20 and 23 feet. An average length for full grown males is
about 17 feet and females rarely exceed 10 feet.

The saltwater crocodiles are native to many estuarine Indo Pacific regions and for this reason
they are often known as Estuarine Crocodiles. They range from China all the way through
Australia and up into the Indian Ocean. The saltwater crocodile is found along Australia’s
northern coast and up to 200km inland. As the name suggests these crocodiles are mainly
found in estuaries where tidal rivers meet the sea. This watery habitat is often mangrove
lined. They can also be sometimes found in the open sea or inland in freshwater swamps and
billabongs. Saltwater crocs are usually found though in brackish waters where the seawater
meets freshwater.
Saltwater crocs hunt by waiting close to the water’s edge and pounce upon their victims in
the blink of an eye. The usual prey of younger crocs is smaller animals such as fishes and
crustaceans. Adults can also attack and eat larger animals by overpowering them and then
drowning them. After the prey is dead, the croc will break up the prey into smaller pieces by
violent flicking of the head to snap or break bones or twisting and rolling the body. Larger crocs
will also take carrion (dead animals) if hungry.
Nesting takes place in freshwater areas in the wet season (Between November and March)
after the males fight for the females. Raised nests are constructed and into these nests
between 25 and 90 eggs will be deposited. Females will remain near the nests and the eggs
take about 90 days to hatch. Males will be produced if the temperature remains at 31.6
degrees Celsius. Temperatures above or below that will result in females. When the female
hears the young begin to hatch, she will assist them in emerging and carry them in her mouth
to the water. Probably less then 1% of these hatchlings will reach adulthood.

In the post World War Two era many northern pioneers hunted the saltwater crocodile for its
skin. Hunters combed the rivers and their tributaries, indiscriminately shooting the saltwater
and freshwater crocodiles. Hides were sold wet salted to Europe. It is estimated that 270, 000 saltwater crocodile hides plus 200 to 300, 000 freshwater crocodile hides were exported in the
15 years prior to 1972. The days of hunting slowly died as the hunters recognized that they
had shot their way out of the market. There were so few crocodiles remaining in the late 60s
that the hunters couldn’t make a living. This unsustainable harvest was brought to a halt by the
Western Australian government in 1969. In 1971 the Northern Territory Government granted
the Saltwater crocodile total protection and Queensland followed suit in 1974.

Over the next decade the crocodile populations made a remarkable comeback. Protection plus
a nucleus of very wary but healthy breeding stock deep in inaccessible breeding grounds led
to a crocodile revival. In the late 70s crocodile sightings became more common. After several
well-publicised crocodile attacks fears that a growing crocodile population would interfere with
and inhibit a growing human population led to a more proactive form of crocodile conservation
in the Northern Territory. A major public education campaign was undertaken, to prevent
people’s actions once again threatening one of the Northern Territory’s most valuable natural
Crocodile farming licences were issued with the intention that young crocodiles harvested
from the wild could be commercially utilized and the farms could provide a home for any
larger animals threatening populations. Darwin Crocodile farm was first licensed in 1981, and
provided a major public education facility in the form of a new and exciting tourist attraction,
whilst being able to commercially utilize the crocodiles for their skins. Provisions were made
for juveniles to be released if populations in the wild became threatened. Sustainable and
successful breeding from the nucleus of problem crocodiles supplied to the farm has now
led to the farm being able to selectively choose its own breeding stock. Monitoring of growth
rates and temperaments of animals set aside for breeding is the basis of the selection of
mature animals to be used in the farm’s breeding programme. Any male that shows excessive
aggression towards other crocodiles, especially females, is removed from the breeding
programme. Some may be used as single display males, but animals with excellent skin quality
are now culled for their skins and heads.

Questions 29 – 34
The reading passage on The Saltwater Crocodiles of Australia has 7 paragraphs
(A – G).
From the list of headings below choose the most suitable headings for
paragraphs B – G.
Write the appropriate number (i – xi) in boxes 29 – 34 on your answer sheet.
NB There are more headings than paragraphs, so you will not use them all.



29 Paragraph B
 30 Paragraph C
 31 Paragraph D
32 Paragraph E
33 Paragraph F
 34 Paragraph G

Questions 35 – 40

Below you will find a summary of paragraphs E, F and G. Complete the
summary using words from the box below the summary and write them in
boxes 35 – 40 on your answer sheet.

NB There are more words than spaces, so you will not use them at all.


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