Morelet’s crocodile

(Crocodylus moreletii)

STATUS
Lower Risk/conservation dependent

SIZE
Length: 3m in length but have been found up to 4.7m
Weight: 38–58kg averaging 51kg.

AGE
Up to 65 years in the wild and 80 years in captivity.

HABITAT & DISTRIBUTION
Freshwater lakes, rivers, swamps and ponds around the eastern coast of Mexico, throughout Belize and northern Guatemala.

WHAT THEY EAT
Small fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. When food is scarce they have been known to cannibalise new-born crocodiles and larger individuals will attack humans.

They breed once a year during the rainy season, with females preferring to mate with the dominant male. Eggs are incubated for 2-3 months in mound nests.

Reptile Facts

  • Their eyes, which are silvery-brown, have special third or inner eyelids with nictitating membranes covering them, allowing for vision underwater.
  • Morelet’s crocodiles generally have 66 to 68 teeth.
  • They have powerful legs with clawed webbed feet, and large tails that allow them to swim with powerful thrusts.
  • Like all crocodiles, the sex of the young is determined by the temperature that the eggs are incubated at. Females will guard the nest until the young are ready to hatch; however, some nests have been known to hold the eggs of more than 1 female.
  • Young crocodiles communicate through vocalisation (known as barking) when born, though with calls that differ depending on age, sex and situation.
  • They have scales covering their head and most of their body which act as additional sense organs in that they detect pressure, salinity and vibrations.
  • Hunting for their skin caused this species to be almost driven to extinction in the 1940s and 1950s. However, captive and in-situ breeding programmes have meant that they are now listed as lower risk.
  • Crocodylus is derived from the Greek krokodeilos which means “pebble worm” referring to the appearance of a crocodile.

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens