Mecistops cataphractus — Overview

African Slender-snouted Crocodile learn more about names for this taxon

IUCN threat status:

Data Deficient (DD)

Brief Summary

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Biology

Like many crocodilians, the African slender-snouted crocodile is apparently a rather shy and timid reptile (6), and despite being a remarkably agile swimmer (6), it is often found resting in the shade of trees (8). It is the only crocodilian species known to climb as high as several meters into the limbs of trees fallen along streams (7). Although it is a fish-eating specialist, the slender-snouted crocodile also feeds on frogs, snakes, shrimps, crabs, and even waterbirds and mammals (6) (8) (9); its slender snout has evolved to move quickly through the water, allowing rows of razor-sharp teeth to snatch fish in open water, or prey from burrows and amongst roots and fallen trees (8). Depending on the region and its climatological patterns, mating is reported to begin in February; and from March the female constructs a nest by scraping vegetation together with her hindfeet (6). These large mounds, up to 80 centimetres high and two metres wide, are situated in a shady spot a few metres from small rainforest streams (6). The female lays between 12 and 30 large, hard-shelled eggs in two layers in the mound, where a temperature of 27.4 to 34 degrees Celsius is maintained (6). At the beginning of the rainy season, after 90 to 100 days of incubation, young crocodiles start to emerge from the elliptical eggs (6). Their characteristic chirping instigates the mother to break open the nest and assist with the hatching process, causing the hatchlings to scatter over the flooded rainforest floor (10). Slender-snouted crocodiles display some degree of parental care of hatchlings, with females aggressively defending their young when they emit distress calls. It is unknown for how many months this maternal care is given (7).

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Source: ARKive

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