American Crocodile

American Saltwater Crocodile

A is for American Saltwater Crocodile

The American saltwater crocodile is the largest species of crocodile. The tail of this crocodile is long and powerful. This species has a long, narrow triangular snout on which the nostrils are located at the very end. They have an average length of 12 feet, with a maximum length of 23 feet, and weigh from 500 to 1000 lbs. The males are larger the~ the females.

This crocodile mainly lives in saltwater lagoons, swamps and . marshes because they prefer saltwater. However, they can be found in freshwater. In the summer, they dig burrows to escape the heat. In cooler temperatures they bask in the sun near the water during the day. Crocodiles are most active at night. They are mainly found in Central America, South America and the West Indies as well as on Southern Florida.

This crocodile species hunts by remaining motionless :in the water and then attacking and drowning prey when it is close enough. The larger crocodiles feed on small mammals, birds, fish and crabs, while the juveniles feed on insects, snails, frogs, small fish and crabs. They also feed on carcasses and have been known to be cannibalistic and also attack humans.

During the Breeding season, which is from January to May, the crocodiles that are sexually mature (ages 8 to 10) can reproduce. The courtship period may last up to 2 months; 20 to 60 eggs are laid. The tough, leathery-shelled eggs are covered with sand and left to incubate for ninety days in the heat of the sun, then they hatch into young crocodiles.

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