American Crocodile

Crocodylus acutus

Florida's Specialty

The American crocodile is one of the largest crocodilians in the world, but also one of the shyest. In the U.S., they can only be found in brackish waters of South Florida.

About the Species

South Florida is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators exist together in the wild.

The crocodile can be distinguished from the alligator by having a longer, thinner snout, lighter color, and the fourth tooth on the lower jaw is exposed when the mouth is closed. American crocodiles prefer to live in brackish water, while alligators prefer freshwater. South Florida is the most northern part of the American crocodile's range. It can be found in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. This endangered species is threatened by hunting and habitat loss. While most of the countries in its range have laws protecting it, many lack adequate enforcement. Additionally, data on the number of American crocodiles is lacking in countries other than the United States.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

Florida is actually the only place in the world where you can find both alligators and crocodiles naturally occurring in the wild. American crocodiles are highly seagoing, and can do so as they excrete salt from a gland located near their tongue.

Heather

Did You Know?

Crocodiles have eyes, ears, and nostrils on the top of their head, which allows them to be almost completely submerged while still being aware of their surroundings.

Facts

Origin

South Florida, Central American, northern South America

Habitat

Brackish water

Size

Up to 15 feet long and 2,000 pounds

Diet

Small mammals, birds, fish

Predators

Young crocodiles may be preyed upon by raccoons and birds. Adult males may be aggressive towards to each other.

Natural Defenses

Size, strong bite, strong tail, good swimmers, camouflage

Reproduction

Females lay 30-50 eggs.

Status

Vulnerable

Life Expectancy

Up to 70 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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