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Belize’s American Crocodile!!!

28 April 2010 3 Comments

By: Future Perfect Travel

The American Crocodile

The American Crocodile is found primarily in Central America (including Belize).  It is the most widespread of the four species of crocodiles from the Americas.

Like all crocodiles, the American crocodile has four short, splayed legs, a long & powerful tail, a scaly hide with rows  running down its back and tail. It’s snout is elongated and includes a strong pair of  jaws. Their eyes have membranes for protection and also glands, that produce tears.

The nostrils, eyes and ears are situated on the top of its head, this way the rest of the body can be concealed underwater for surprise attacks.  camouflage also helps them prey on food. American crocodiles normally crawl on their belly, but they can also “walk high”. Larger specimens can gallop up to 10 miles per hour. They can swim at as much as 20 miles per hour by moving their body and tail in a twisting  fashion, but they cannot sustain this speed.

American crocodiles are more susceptible to cold than American alligators. Unlike the American alligator which can survive in waters of 7.2 °C (45.0 °F) for some time, an American crocodile would become helpless and drown. It is thought that this intolerance to cold is the reason why American crocodiles never spread as far northward as the alligators.  American crocodiles; however, have a faster growth rate than alligators, and are much more tolerant of salt water.

Unlike the Old World crocodiles which are sometimes cleared of parasites by birds, the American crocodile relies more on fish for parasite removal.

Newborn hatchlings are about 8.7 inches in size and weighs about 2 ounces. The average adult is 13 feet long  and weighs 840 pounds in males, and 9.8 feet long with a weight of 380 pounds in females.

The American crocodile prey can range in size from the insects taken by young crocodiles to cattle taken by large adults and includes birds, mammals, fish, turtles, crabs, snails, frogs, and occasionally carrion. Full grown adult males have no natural predators and are capable of preying on virtually any animal unfortunate enough to be at the water’s edge, although even at immense sizes fish still makes up the vast majority of the crocodile’s diet.

It inhabits waters such as mangrove swamps, river mouths, fresh waters, and salt lakes and can even be found at sea.

American crocodiles can be dangerous to humans.

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3 Comments »

  • Scary Terry said:

    Loved your article. I’m writing a story about a kid in one of the cayes who loves crocodiles. I’m thinking I can say that crocs could move from one island to another since islands are so close. My point would be you could never be rid of crocs in a caye because they could come over from another caye. Have I got it right?

    Thanks

  • Chaa Creek Blog Guide (author) said:

    Dear Scary Terry,

    Yes you got that right!

  • Crocodiles in Belize - Belize Wildlife | Belize Travel Blog said:

    […] as the American saltwater crocodile. That is now a matter of debate since it is believed that the American crocodile population is not at strong and healthy as believed. That’s because while they are considered […]

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