Thursday, March 31, 2016

American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus (Family Crocodylidae)

This species may occur as a waif in Trinidad and Tobago waters. It is unlikely to be represented by an established extant population. Size to 7 m. A large crocodile with a preobital hump which will separate it from the Orinoco Crocodile. The fourth tooth in the lower jaw is visible, and it lacks the interorbital ridge these will distinguish it from the common caiman which has the fourth tooth hidden and a distinct interorbital ridge.Distribution includes central Mexico southward through Central America, present on both coasts; on the Pacific as far south as northern Peru and to at least the mouth of the Orinoco along the northern coast; the Caribbean, and southern Florida. Some 19th century authors considered this species part of the Trinidad herpetofauna and it has been found in archeological sites. Currently most crocodilian biologists would consider Trinidad specimens waifs from other populations. Thus it appears that this large animal was at one time present in Trinidad and is now extirpated, possibly due to human predation, habitat destruction, or some combination of these factors. Mangrove forests, salt marshes, and brackish creeks are likely habitats but it also occurs in larger freshwater rivers and freshwater lakes with access to coastal areas. Adults use a den 3-9 m into a stream bank with the entrance below the waterline. Eggs are deposited in a mound nest.



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