The Cuban Crocodile has a
short, broad head with a bony ridge behind the
eyes. Scales from the dorsal shield extend onto
the back of the neck, and the scales on the legs
are larger than on other crocodilians. Males
rarely exceed 10.5 feet in length, but specimens
up to 15 feet have been recorded; females are
Coloration is darker on the top portion of the
body, and consists of a characteristic pattern of
black and yellow speckles. The belly of the Cuban
Crocodile is pale with no distinctive markings.
The tail is marked with black blotches and/or
bands. White eyelid edges give the Cuban
Crocodile a bespectacled look. Juveniles are more
yellowish and spotted than adults.
Feet with reduced webbing aid the Cuban
Crocodile on land, enabling them to move with
increased agility and power compared to other
crocodilians. A strong tail aids the Cuban
Crocodile in both jumping and swimming.
Cuban Crocodiles have a total of 66-68 large
teeth, especially adapted for crushing turtle
The Cuban Crocodile is found only in Cuba in
the Zapata Swamp in the northwest, and in the
Lanier Swamp on Isla de Juventud. It prefers
fresh water marshes or swamps similar to those of
the Everglades, only rarely entering saltwater.
Juveniles of the species tend to feed on
arthropods and small fish, while adults eat fish,
turtles, and small mammals. They ambush prey by
floating or swimming in the water and leaping out
of the water.
Little is known regarding the nesting behavior
of the Cuban Crocodile in the wild, but it is
generally believed that its habits are similar to
those of other crocodilians. Depending upon
conditions, Cuban Crocodiles either dig hole
nests or construct hole nests. Breeding season
generally begins in May and lasts for three to
four months. 30-40 eggs are typically produced,
although as many as 60 are possible. The eggs are
approximately 2-3 inches in length and weigh an
average of 0.25 pounds. The eggs typically hatch
58-70 days after they are laid. Sex of the
hatchlings is determined by the temperature of
the nest. Males occur only when internal nest
temperatures are between 30-32 degrees Celcius,
while females are produced in nests that are
above or below these temperatures.
Maximum lifespan in the wild is unknown.
Cuban Crocodiles are strong swimmers and are
also adept at walking and jumping, making them
equally at home in water or on land.
They generally cooperate when hunting or
feeding, but still relate to each other according
to a hierarchy of dominance based on gender, size
One of the most endangered
crocodilians in the world, the Cuban Crocodile is
threatened by hunting and habitat encroachment.
An exact population is unknown, but it is
believed that there are 3,000-6,000 in the wild.
genus & species Crocodylus rhombifer
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Crocodylus_rhombifer/
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