Crocodylus acutus. By Ken Mayer.
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Meet the Alligator's Distant (but Local) Relative

 

 

Introduction  |  Taxonomy, Phylogeny & Etymology  |  Distribution & Population  Ecology

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SPECIES PROFILE

American crocodile basking.AMERICAN

CROCODILE

Crocodylus acutus

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Superorder: Crocodylomorpha

Order: Crocodilia

Family: Crocodylidae

 

 

 

(Image: Georgiana Wingard, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

 

 

Reproduction

 

This species mates during the drier season, such as late winter and early spring, with nest building following in March and egg-laying in late April or early May. Females must be about 10-13 years of age to be sexually mature. The courtship behavior of the crocodiles comprises of various An American crocodile displaying the "bowed" posture.sounds and postures.

 

Water must be deep enough for the crocodiles to copulate, Copulation involves the male turning its body about 1/4 turn of axis toward the female with its genital member meeting the cloaca of its mate. The total time of copulation may be only a few minutes. In both sexes, the genitalia are located within the cloaca, which is a small slit found on the ventral (bottom) region of the body just behind the rear legs.

 

A few weeks after copulation the gravid ("pregnant") female will be ready to lay her eggs. A crocodile mother is adaptable to the substrate on which she will be required to nest, requiring mainly that her eggs remain relatively dry (as the embryos will drown in water).. In a drier or sandier setting she will dig a hole in the ground as a nest, and in more densely vegetative, or wetter surroundings she will build a mound nest of vegetation debris. She will deposit up to 60, possibly even 80 eggs, the average clutch a little more than half of that number (though in some populations the clutch may number in the 20s). At hatching time, about 100 days after laying, the mother may assist the babies from their eggs, as other crocodilians do. While parental guarding of the nest occurs, ongoing parental care for the babies is limited.

 

The crocodile shown here displays the "bowed" posture, which may indicate submission to another during courtship/mating season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An American crocodile egg and a chicken egg.

This image compares the size and shape of an American Crocodile's egg (at left) with that of a chicken (at right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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