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African crocodile: species, distribution

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African narrow-crocodile crocodile, slender-snouted crocodiles: Crocodylus cataphractus Cuvier, 1825. The etymology of the name: Crocodylus comes from the Greek word “krokodeilos”, which literally means “pebble worm” (kroko = pebble, deilos = worm), indicating the code indicates cataphractus means “clad in armor”, obtained from kataphraktos (Greek word) Other names: West African long-nosed crocodile, long-nosed crocodile, underwater crocodile, African gavial

Range: Central and West Africa: Angola, Benin, Ca Merun, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia. r> A narrow-toed crocodile is a medium-sized reptile, got its name due to the specific shape of the muzzle: narrow, very long and slender, ideally suited for fishing. The mouth is armed with 64-70 sharp teeth. The nostrils are located at the very end of the muzzle, and they, like the eyes and ears, are located above the upper plane of the head. When immersed in water, the existing special valves close the nostrils and ear holes from the ingress of water. The eyes are protected by a third transparent eyelid, known as the blinking membrane, which allows you to look at the rock-star under water. The mouth contains about 64-70 teeth. The fourth tooth on both sides of the lower jaw is larger than the rest and it enters a special cell on the upper jaw. The sharp-pointed crocodiles are well distinguished from other crocodiles by the presence of 3-4 rows of protective shields on the back of the neck, while other crocodiles have only 2 rows.

Color: The body color is quite variable: the color changes from brown to grayish-green (olive) or almost black - darker on the upper side of the body, lighter - on the lower. Against the main background, especially on the tail, there are often dirty black spots, which camouflages the crocodile very well in its watery house. Even its underside, with its creamy yellow color, makes it inconspicuous for potential prey floating below the crocodile.

Body length up to 3-4 m, in rare cases up to 4.2 meters, on average - about 2.5 meters. Males are somewhat larger than females. Weight: The average size of a crocodile is about 230 kilograms (500 pounds). Life span: 50 years or more

Voice: As soon as the babies begin to hatch from the eggs, they emit a characteristic twitter, which stimulates the females to release newborn crocodiles from the nest.

Habitat: rivers with dense vegetation, are also found in large lakes. Some individuals were found in brackish water, near the ocean coast. They can even be found in drainage systems and on offshore islands (Bioko Island), swimming on them along sea salt water from the African coast. These reports are unusual, but they indicate a moderate tolerance of salinity.

Enemies: The main enemy is man. The decrease in the population is primarily associated with hunting for crocodiles, as well as with the destruction of the environment.

The basis of the diet of young crocodiles is small aquatic insects and other invertebrates. Adult crocodiles can eat a wide variety of readily available foods: crustaceans (shrimp and crab), fish, amphibians (frogs), reptiles (snakes).

The large narrow muzzle is perfectly adapted for grabbing the main food of adult crocodiles - fish. Unique in shape jaws can act like a pair of tweezers and allow the crocodile to extract prey even from holes and small cracks. Like other crocodiles, this crocodile often takes the opportunity to eat large animals (birds and mammals) that come to the water to quench their thirst. At the zoo, they feed on fish and rats.

Like most crocodiles, it has excellent eyesight, smell and hearing. Also, like other crocodiles, crocodiles nose, eyes and ears are located on the same line slightly above the top of the animal’s head, so that it can lie almost entirely in the water, retaining the ability to see, smell, and hear everything that passes above the surface of the water.

Narrow-armed crocodiles have a limited diet due to the shape of their muzzle, and feed primarily on fish. To hunt, they swim parallel to the river bank, bend their tail, thus luring fish in shallow water.

Do you know where the expression "crocodile tears" comes from? It turned out: crocodiles "cry", but the only goal of tears (lacrimal glands) is to rid the body of excess salt.

Social structure: Lead a solitary lifestyle, but during the breeding season, pointed crocodiles stray in groups.

Reproduction: Females build embankment nests, mainly consisting of aquatic and coastal vegetation, mixed with clay. Nests are located on the banks of rivers, and their construction is timed to coincide with the beginning of the rainy season. In clutch there are usually 16 (minimum 13, maximum 27) large eggs. After completion of masonry, the female remains near the nest to protect it. Loss of eggs from predators is minimal.

Season / breeding season: The breeding season is generally associated with the start of the rainy season, between March and July. Puberty: 10-15 years. Pregnancy: The incubation period is longer than other types of crocodiles, lasts more than 110 days. Offspring: As soon as the incubation period ends, the female digs up the nest and helps the crocodiles to be born. Young crocodiles creep in the surrounding area.

Crocodiles are mined for meat and skin. The species is listed in the International Red Book. The population is up to 50,000 individuals.

Conservation: The largest African narrow-crocodile population lives in Gabon, the smaller in Angola and Chad.

West African Crocodile

It is also called desert. It is one of 4 species of African crocodiles. Due to the external similarity, it is often confused with the Nile. The difference between them was discovered in 1807 by the French zoologist Etienne Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire.

The habitat of the African crocodile is Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo and many other places of their distribution, where they can meet with their Nile counterparts.

As for their lifestyle, these reptiles feed in particular on fish and invertebrates, but they can also afford larger animals. African crocodiles 5 meters long can easily attack large cats and manatees, which are also found in their diet. There have been instances of their attacks on people and pets.

They live in caves, and during bad weather, such as a rainy day, they gather in a pond or ponds.

Gavial crocodile

African narrow-crocodile is one of three species of modern crocodiles that live on the "black" continent. Among his reptiles "fellow countrymen" are the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and the West African dwarf or blunt crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis).
It is slightly inferior in size to the Nile "brother", but much larger than a blunt crocodile.

African narrow-crocodile is an inhabitant of Central and West Africa. It can be found in freshwater bodies of countries such as Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Gabon, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Sierra Leone and bordering countries.
As can be seen from the impressive list of countries, this reptile is known to many peoples, and, quite naturally, has many local names and names. Here are just a few of them: Cabinda, an underwater crocodile, a house crocodile, a weevil West African crocodile, a tank crocodile, a long-nosed crocodile, and even an African gavial. Of course, this reptile has nothing to do with the Gavialovs, but sometimes it is “called” for its narrow nose.
"Foreign" names: African slender-snouted crocodile, Cocodrilo hociquifino Africano, Faux-Gavial d'Afrique, Khinh, Long-snouted West-African crocodile, Subwater crocodile, Cabinda.

The species received a scientific description thanks to the famous French naturalist J. L. Cuvier (Jean Leopold Nicolas Frederic Cuvier) in 1825. This scientist devoted many years to the study of lifestyle and the description of many reptiles that have survived to this day.
View name "Cataphractus"Cuvier assigned to this crocodile has Greek roots and means "clad in armor."

The narrow-winged African crocodile prefers to live in freshwater bodies, but is also able to tolerate the slightly salted water of river mouths. There is even information about a meeting with these crocodiles in the shelf zone of about. Bioko, i.e. in seawater. However, this reptile avoids saline and even slightly saline waters, therefore it is considered freshwater, and the appearance in the coastal areas is not typical for this predator. Its element is rivers overgrown with dense underwater vegetation, large and medium-sized lakes, canals and other fresh water bodies.

This representative of these crocodiles does not belong to the giants of his family, but can reach quite impressive sizes - up to 4 and even more meters. But up to such a length, narrow-crocodiles can grow only in exceptional cases. The average length of males does not exceed 3.0 m with a weight of up to 200-220 kg, females are even smaller.

As the name implies, the narrow-crocodile has an elongated and very narrow muzzle, which is why it is sometimes called the African gavial. The eyes are located on the upper side of the head, have vertical slit pupils. The protective shields on the back of the neck are arranged in three or four rows and are combined with the crests of the back, which distinguishes it from other representatives of the genus having two rows of shields.
Another sign that is not characteristic of real crocodiles is the presence of dark spots and stripes on the body and tail. Typically, such spots are present in the color of gavials and some alligator representatives, and crocodiles have them only at a young age.
The mouth holds 64-70 teeth, while the lower jaw usually has a couple more teeth. The rest of the appearance of a narrow-winged African crocodile is typical of this class of reptiles. Like all crocodiles, he has well-developed hearing, vision and sense of smell.

Narrow-armed African crocodiles rarely form clusters and even pairs. Usually they prefer loneliness, uniting only during mating. The lifestyle of these reptiles is poorly studied due to the relative rarity and habitat in hard-to-reach places, including in politically unstable areas, which often makes it difficult for representatives of the scientific world to access.

The food for these crocodiles is medium-sized aquatic inhabitants: fish, amphibians, snakes, crustaceans. Large individuals are able to eat even animals and birds, however, the narrow mouth of these reptiles is more suitable for fishing.
There is no information about cases of an African narrow-crocodile attack on people. It can be assumed that large individuals reaching four meters in length represent a certain danger to humans.
Propagated by egg laying. During the rainy season, the female builds a nest from plant “building material” - branches, foliage, grass and turf, where it lays from 13 to 27 relatively large eggs.
Incubation is longer than other crocodiles and can last up to 110 days. The female guards the masonry all this time, and as soon as the hatched cubs give voice (a characteristic “tweet”), it helps the newborns to get out of the nest. Then the brood is scattered in shallow water overgrown with algae, and begins an independent life.

The state of the populations of the narrow-winged African crocodile has not been sufficiently studied, therefore, this species is listed in the Red Book DD - lack of data.
Nevertheless, it is assumed that it should be considered vulnerable, since this reptile has been found less frequently in habitats in recent years. Particularly noticeable is the decrease in the number of narrow-crocodile in such countries as the Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia. The reason for this is the uncontrolled hunting and destruction of the habitat of crocodiles.

Spread

African narrow-crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus) distributed in Central and West Africa (Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania , Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia). Narrow-winged crocodiles live in rivers with dense vegetation, and are found in large lakes.

The length of his body is up to 3-4 m, in rare cases up to 4.2 m, on average - about 2.5 meters, and the males are somewhat larger than the females. The average weight of these crocodiles is about 230 kg.

The basis of the diet of young crocodiles is small aquatic insects and other invertebrates. Adult crocodiles can eat a wide variety of readily available foods: crustaceans (shrimp and crab), fish, amphibians (frogs), reptiles (snakes). The large narrow muzzle is perfectly adapted for grabbing the main food of adult crocodiles - fish. Unique in shape jaws can act like a pair of tweezers and allow the crocodile to extract prey even from holes and small cracks. Like other crocodiles, a narrow-toed crocodile often takes the opportunity to eat large animals (birds and mammals) that come to the water to quench their thirst.

Bit of history

The god Sebek, worshiped by the inhabitants of Ancient Egypt, had the head of a crocodile and was a symbol of the power of the pharaoh. The Egyptians did not always get along with their patron and sometimes allowed themselves to hunt for local crocodiles. They also used spells to not cause the wrath of these reptiles. According to the Egyptians, the West African crocodiles were smarter and calmer than the Nile, so they were used in various rituals.

Currently, the Moorians protect the African crocodiles living here, because it is believed that without them the water will disappear. After all, it is in her that they spend most of their lives.

African narrow-crocodile

He got this name thanks to the narrow muzzle, which makes it look like an Orinoc crocodile, which lives in the north of South America. The average body length of a reptile is 2.5 meters, but individuals 4 meters long are found. They are sometimes called armored crocodiles due to the fusion of bone plates with scales on the back.

The diet of these reptiles includes aquatic invertebrates and fish, as well as some large prey.

By themselves, they are single, but during the mating period they gather in groups. Females of the African crocodile build nests directly near the water, which allows the hatched cubs to reach it as soon as possible. Reptiles do not take care of the offspring, but the percentage of survival of the cubs is quite high due to the large size of the eggs and the long incubation period.

The African narrow-toed crocodile lives exclusively in water areas. Distributed mainly in the waters of West Africa, on the coast of Cameroon and on the island of Bioko. There are approximately 50 thousand individuals of this species, but this figure is reduced every year due to hunting and a decrease in habitat. Crocodile conservation measures are currently underway, but volatile policies in some parts of Africa make work difficult.

Dumb Crocodile

The smallest representative of the crocodile squad. The maximum body length is 1.9 meters. The description of the African crocodile can be attributed to a black color, which on the stomach turns into yellow. The small size of the reptile exposes it to danger: a crocodile can become prey for larger predators.However, it is adapted to survive thanks to its well-armored body and tail.

The dull crocodile face became the basis for its name.

It lives mainly in water bodies of West Africa.

Reptile is active at night. The diet includes vertebrates, snails and small carrion. Likes to hide in burrows that digs near the shore.

Crocodile females lay their eggs in the rainy season, in mid-June. The incubation period lasts up to 105 days. Cubs are born in nests made in advance by a female from rotting materials. Before hatching the offspring, the mother protects the eggs from predators.

People prey on such crocodiles for the sake of meat and skin, which is very little appreciated due to poor quality, which significantly reduces the number of animals every year.

Nile crocodile

The largest of all species living in Africa. He has a large physique, which allows the African crocodile to hunt animals such as rhinos, giraffes and buffalos. It is also called the cannibal.

He has short legs, a long heavy tail, and his skin is covered with inherent scales. Near the eyes there are special glands that secrete fluid. The special arrangement of the nostrils, ears and eyes allows the crocodile to completely go under water, leaving them on the surface. Coloring allows masking.

The sizes of reptiles often exceed 5 meters.

During the mating period, the crocodile attracts a female with water strikes or sounds peculiar only to him. Both parents guard the offspring at all costs.

Nile crocodile is a huge danger for people, killing hundreds of them almost every year. Although it is believed that they attack not without reason, but only when they sense a threat in relation to themselves or their offspring.

Where do crocodiles of this species live?

Nile crocodiles love to be located on the banks of rivers and lakes, and are found in salt ponds. They can be found in Morocco, Zanzibar, Madagascar and many other places. Animals are also widespread in many countries of South and East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia).

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