American Crocodile Facts
- The American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) represents a species of crocodilian found in the Neotropics.
- In addition, it also appears the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodile from the Americas.
- Within the boundaries of its greatest area of concentration, the distribution of the American Crocodile remains limited to both Puerto Rico and the southern half of Florida.
- This rather powerful and highly dangerous if provoked animal currently has an estimated population of 2,000 individuals.
American Crocodile Physical Description
Like all crocodilians, the American Crocodile developed as a quadruped, with four short, splayed legs, a long, powerful tail and a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail.
The snout grows elongated and includes a rather strong pair of jaws. The eyes develop covered by nictitating membranes for protection, along with lachrymal glands, which produce tears.
The nostrils, eyes, and ears grow situated on the top of its head, so the rest of the body can be concealed underwater for surprise attacks.
As a larger species of crocodile, some males reach lengths of as much as 20 ft (6.1 m) and weigh in excess of 2,000 lbs (907 kg).
On average, mature males stay more in the range of 13 ft (4.1 m) in length and weigh about 880 lbs (400 kg). As with many other species, sexual dimorphism is present. Females remain smaller, rarely exceeding 12 ft (3.8 m) in length.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Crocodilia
- Family: Crocodylidae
- Genus: Crocodylus
- Species: C. acutus
American Crocodile Habitat
As recently as 1970 experts placed the population of the American Crocodile at no more than 200 individuals. The habitat of the American Crocodile consists largely of coastal areas.
Individuals may also be found in river systems but have a tendency to prefer some level of salinity in the water. This results in the species congregating in brackish lakes, coastal swamps, lagoons, even cays, and small islands.
Some other crocodiles also have a tolerance for salt water, due to salt glands underneath the tongue. But the American Crocodile remains the only species other than the saltwater crocodile to commonly live and thrive in saltwater.
Like any other large species of crocodilian, the American Crocodile continues to be potentially dangerous to humans, but it does not seem to be a very aggressive species, and attacks occur rarely
American Crocodile Distribution and Ecology
The reptile constitutes one of the larger crocodile species. This species also has a more V-shaped snout compared to other large crocodiles that usually have a slightly wider snout.
Despite its rather large size, this incredible reptile does not commonly prey upon large animals as most large crocodilians do.
Fish, reptiles, birds and small mammals make up the majority of its diet. On occasion, large mammals such as deer and domestic animals get taken.
Its dietary habits in coastal regions remain rather poorly studied.