Sunday, July 9, 2017

Orinoco Crocodile, Crocodylus intermedius (Family Crocodylidae)

This species is listed here because it is a potential waif from the nearby Orinoco River. It is unlikely to be found in Trinidad or Tobago. Size. 6.8 m. Diagnosis. Snout elongated and pointed, adult individuals lack a pre-orbital hump present in C. acutus; the symphysis of the lower jaw extends to the sixth tooth in this species, but to the fourth or fifth tooth in C. acutus. It can be separated from the common caiman, Caiman crocodilus by having the fourth tooth in the lower jaw visible (it is not visible in the caiman) and it lacks the interorbital ridge present in caimans. Distribution is restricted to the Orinoco drainage of Colombia and Venezuela. It may occasionally show up as a waif on the shores of Trinidad and nearby islands, including Chacachacare Island and Grenada. Thus, there is no evidence that this species occurs on Trinidad or Tobago, but because the Orinoco species may occasionally wander down river to these islands, there is a possibility of its occurrence. Life History. During the wet season individuals may move great distances, but during the dry season, they restrict their activity to deep pools that remain in rivers. Juveniles use still water with dense vegetation. Females mature at 250 cm; nesting occurs early in the dry season and eggs hatch during the initial rise in water level at the start of the wet season; eggs are laid in a hole excavated in either an eroded river bank or a beach. Individual females are known to reuse nesting sites. Photo by Greg Hume.

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