Sensationalist Language in the Media

The media often uses sensational and, frankly, irresponsible language in articles where crocodilians are the topic of interest. The following are a few phrases that are incorrect and reinforce negative views regarding crocodilians that responsible journalists should seek to replace with the suggested phrases.

  1. "Crocodile Infested" - No waterway is "infested" with crocodiles, since this is their natural habitat. An "infestation" suggests that the organism is present in an area it should not be in unusually large numbers, which has never been the case with crocodilians in their natural habitat. The correct phrase to use is "crocodile inhabited".
  2. "Stalking" - Crocodiles do not "stalk" waterways, but they do engage in "natural hunting behavior".
  3. "Lurking" - Crocodiles do not "lurk" near human habitat, but they are naturally inquisitive, intelligent animals that will readily investigate areas of interest.
  4. "Monster Crocodile" - There are no "monster crocs", but there are "exceptionally large" individuals.
  5. "Man-eater" - While it IS true that a very small number of crocodiles from the "big three" species (saltwater crocodile, Nile crocodile, mugger crocodile) may engage in man-eating behavior, a large crocodile that has not eaten a human should NOT be described as a "man-eater". Some news articles have referred to any large crocodile present near human habitat as a "man-eater", which is just factually incorrect.