African dwarf crocodile

Crocodile Rocks opened in May 2014 following a £25,000 investment. The African Dwarf crocodiles that call Crocodile Rocks home were hatched in July 2012.

Animal File

Reptiles
Carnivores
Rivers and streams
Swamps & marshes
Common Name:
African dwarf crocodile
Scientific Name:
Osteolaemus tetraspis
Size: Up to 1.5 meters in length
Africa
Country:
West and West Central Africa
Conservation Status
Vulnerable

African dwarf crocodiles are mainly found in West and West Central Africa, inhabiting slow moving water in swamplands, ponds and forest marshes.

They grow to 1.5 metres and have heavily armoured skin. The eyes and nostrils are on top of the head, perfect for waiting submerged to ambush prey.

African dwarf crocodiles feed mainly on small invertabrates as well as small fish. Their diet expands as an adult crocodile to include a wider variety of prey such as mammals, larger fish, birds, reptiles and aquatic snails.

Females build and defend a nest made from mounds of vegetation in the wet season. A clutch of about 10 eggs are buried and incubated for 100 days. Hatchlings call out to their mother, prompting her to dig and help them from the nest.

They are classified as vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List and listed on Appendix I of CITES as population numbers have declined dramatically as a result of habitat destruction and the bushmeat trade. Tens of thousands of dwarf crocodiles are hunted for food and sold in markets every year.

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