Description of American
crocodile | What Crocodiles look like
| Crocodile habitat | Crocodile
nests | Crocodile egg hatching | Crocodile's
predatory habits | Crocodile population
| Danger of crocodiles to humans | Age
Description of American crocodile
The American crocodile
- lives in the southern tip of Florida, which is a tropical climate
- is even more sensitive than the
alligator to the cold
- is listed as an endangered species under the federal Endangered
- is a relic of the age of reptiles
- is a shy and reclusive animal that is easily disturbed by human
- prefers coastal, brackish or salt water habitats.
What Crocodiles look like
- have tapered and triangular-shaped snouts with an exposed fourth
tooth on either side of the lower jaw and
- are grayish green, dark olive or gray-brown across the back.
Crocodiles were once found from Lake Worth to the waters in and
around the Florida Bay. Most now nest in the Crocodile Lake National
Wildlife Refuge in Key Largo, in the Everglades and on the berms
of the cooling canals of the FPL Turkey Point Plant. Crocodiles
prefer the quiet waters of coastal mangrove swamps where they are
protected from onshore winds.
Some crocodiles dig burrows 10-30 feet deep into the creek banks
with entrances at or below the water line. Their nests, which are
built on marl banks or sand and shell beaches, are simpler than
Crocodile egg hatching
Clutches of 8 to 50 crocodile eggs incubate for about 85 days.
Sometimes the mother crocodile helps the babies hatch by carefully
cracking the eggshells in her mouth.
Crocodile's predatory habits
Crocodiles feed at night on fish and other aquatic animals in
- open water and
- deep channels.
Despite protection, the number of crocodiles in South Florida has
been slow to increase. The current population seems to have stabilized.
Habitat loss and change in salinity and water levels in Florida
Bay may be a factor in limiting populations.
Danger of crocodiles to humans
Because of the shy and reclusive nature of crocodiles, they generally
do not pose a problem for humans.
Age of reptiles
Crocodilians are relics of the age of reptiles-the era in which
these primitive-looking creatures ruled the earth for 100 million
years. Today, only 23 crocodilian species remain and many of these
are in danger of extinction from conflicts with man. Of all the
reptiles, crocodilians are the largest and have the most complex
behavior, including elaborate courtship displays, nest building
behavior and social rituals.