Monday, January 30, 2012
Monday's Specie in Peril---African Slender Snouted Crocodile
The African Slender-Snouted Crocodiles (Crocodylus cataphractus) are native to fresh water habitats in Central and Western Africa. Their common name comes from their extremely long, slender mouth. They have many common names including Long-snouted West-African crocodile, African gharial, Panzer crocodile, Long-nosed crocodile, African sharp-nosed crocodile, Faux gavial africain, Loricate crocodile, Subwater crocodile, Khinh, Cabinda. This is a relatively small to medium sized crocodile reaching lengths up to 12 feet or a bit more.
They are generally a solitary species of crocodile and only come together during the rainy season for breeding purposes. After mating the female will build a nest of plant material on the banks of rivers. About one week after constructing the nest mound, the female will lay between 13 and 27 very large eggs within the nest. In approximately 3 1/2 months the young begin to hatch. Which is a much longer incubation period than most crocodilians. The young will chirp from within the nest inside the eggs, this is referred to as pipping. The female will help the young out of their eggs and out of the nest. This particular species does not defend the nest or young as aggressively as other female crocodilians.
Predation by other animals is probably not an issue with this species because of their long incubation process and the fact that they have very sharp teeth and will defend themselves. Although soft shell turtles are known to eat the young crocodiles. The litter sizes are usually small and very little is known about their range, even in areas where they are considered common not much is known about them. They are however believed to be in decline, primarily due to over hunting, and habitat loss is exacerbating the problem. Very little enforcement is used in protecting this species and many areas till allow the harvest of this species, despite its dwindling numbers.