Female American crocodiles incubate their eggs to keep them warm. The sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. High temperatures of 88 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit produce male offspring, while anything lower than 88 degrees results in females. However, the temperature must remain above 82 degrees in order for the eggs to hatch. After the young hatch, they rely on the yolk of the egg for nourishment for as long as two weeks. As they age the number of potential predators decreases, but newly hatched and young American crocodiles are particularly vulnerable and therefore must hide. The food supply of the yolk keeps them nourished until they are more competent and secure. As they mature and grow, young American crocodiles start to hunt insects on land, much like the foraging style of other lizards.
Development - Life Cycle: temperature sex determination
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- Museum of Science, Inc. 1997. "The Everglades" (On-line). American Crocodile. Accessed March 20, 2009 at http://www.miamisci.org/ecolinks/everglades/crocinfo.html.