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

 

 

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

Anatomy & Physiology  |  Diet & Digestion  |  Reproduction  |  Survival  Human Conflict

Cultural & Commercial Impact  |  Suggested Publications  |  References

 

 

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.)

 

 

Survival

 

A challenge for the crocodile's progression is its natural survival rate; only a relative few of the hatchlings will survive to adulthood, being preyed upon by large birds and fish, raccoons and other predators. Camoflauge and hiding places are crucial factors of self-defense. Larger crocs may die from injuries inflicted by other crocodiles or from conflict with humans, like those resulting in an automobile colliding with the reptile.

 

Croc eggs in the nests may be destroyed by water submersion, which may occur becaseu of unusually high amonuts of rain or because of the hydrological interference of human development of the environment. Humans have had the greatest effect on the species as their drainage and other alteration of wildlands has reduced the animal's habitat size considerably. The section "Distribution & Population" discusses an interesting and complex situation regarding the effect of human environmental development on the crocodile.

 

American Crocodile underwater.

This crocodile might easily be mistaken for a sunken log, at first glance. The reptile's ability to hide is crucial for survival, especially for smaller ones. Note the nictitating membranes closed over the eyes; this pair of opaque coverings protect the orbits but also diminishes the croc's vision underwater.

(Image: Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey)

 

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