West African Dwarf Crocodile

Theme area:  Crocodile Rocks
Scientific name:  Osteolaemus tetraspis
Class:  Reptiles
Continent:  Africa
Hábitat:  Small rivers and swamps
Diet:  Carnivorous
Weight:  18 - 32 kg
Size:  1.2 - 1.5 metres
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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.

Conservation status
Extinct
Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Endangered
Vulnerable
Near threatened
Least concern
Date deficient
Not evaluated

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These crocodiles can live up to 75 years

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