Cultural beliefs based on Timor-Leste´s creation myth “Lafaek Diak–The Good Crocodile” are anchored in the East Timorese traditional belief system lulik and involve worship of the widely distributed, but dangerous, saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). The wild saltwater crocodile population and rate of fatal attacks on people are both increasing due to conservation action. More innovative management is needed to reduce the frequency of attacks, but reverence for crocodiles constrains the management options available. We used semi-structured interviews with Timorese stakeholders (25 local authorities, 10 national experts, 15 citizens) to understand the cultural beliefs and traditional ecological knowledge underlying human-crocodile interactions, and conflict (HCC) in Timor-Leste. Interviewees knew this species was a risk (respect, fear) and its population was expanding, and had culturally determined beliefs (ceremonies, rituals) that included differentiating between local “ancestor” crocodiles and invasive “troublemakers.” Cost-effective management could integrate stakeholder groups, especially traditional elders and local knowledge holders.