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

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

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.

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets

The health of our aquarium family, which includes our visitors, staff and animals, is our top priority. In light of the most recent advice from Public Health England and the government, we will be temporarily closing the Oceanarium Bournemouth effective immediately, until further notice.

We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our dedicated keeper team will continue to provide the best care for our animals during the closure.

If you’ve booked tickets for any day during this closure, you can exchange them for any other date in 2020 or we can provide a refund. Please send your booking details to

We’ll keep you informed through our website and social media channels. Thank you for your patience and we really look forward to welcoming you back to the Oceanarium when we re-open. Stay safe everyone.