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American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus


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American Crocodile, adult
credit: Tom·s Castelazo/CCSA

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Family: Crocodylidae, Crocodiles view all from this family

Description Long & slender snout. Grayish-olive green. Crossbands on back and tail. When mouth is closed,4th tooth visible.

Dimensions 2.1-4.6m. (7-15')

Endangered Status The American Crocodile is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered throughout its range in southern Florida. Most of the world’s crocodilians -- 17 species out of a total of 22 -- are in danger of becoming extinct. All have suffered from collection by humans for their hides and the destruction of their habitat. The American Crocodile, declared endangered in 1975, lives only in southern Florida, where about 500 individuals survive. The species was nearly wiped out by the effects of the construction of highways, beachfront homes, and mobile home parks, as well as poaching. One of the current threats to the species is the increasing salinity of the waters in their habitat, a result of damming and other practices. The adult crocs can survive in salt water but their young cannot. Additionally, these very rare animals are sometimes killed by humans who mistake them for American Alligators, which are quite numerous and even considered a pest in some areas.

Warning Crocodiles are carnivores that feed on fish and other large water animals and also stalk prey onshore near water. All crocodiles should be considered dangerous, even those basking in the sun. They can attack with amazing suddenness and have very sharp, grasping teeth and powerfully strong jaws.

Breeding Nests built by soil, sand and mangrove peat, built by female. Eggs laid April-May. 30-35 per clutch. Hatch July/August. 9" long. When hatched, female carries them in her mouth to water.

Habitat Bogs, mangrove swamps and marshes.

Range Southern Florida & Florida Keys.

Discussion Raccoons, birds, crabs, mullet form the main diet. Weighs 400-500 kilos.