Cuban Crocodile

cu8ban-crocodile

Size
On average this crocodile reaches lengths of around 8 feet, making it a fairly small crocodile.

Habitat and Distribution
In the wild this crocodile is found in only 2 places, which are the Zapata Swamp in Cuba, as well as the Isle of Youth which lies South West of the Zapata Swamp.  It prefers fresh water habitats and is rarely found in brackish or salt water areas..

Age
The average lifespan of these animals is around 65 to 75 years.

Diet
The diet of these animals revolves greatly around the water ways in which they live.  They will feed on a large number of fish, mammals, birds and turtles which live in and around their habitat.  Turtles are easily eaten through specially adapted blunt teeth at the rear of the mouth.  They are very adept at feeding on birds which sit on branches overhanging the water.  They are known to regularly jump up to 4 feet out of the water to snatch the birds straight off the branches.

Groups and Breeding
This species has a 3 to 4 month breeding season in the wild, which starts during May.  After breeding takes place the females will lay an average of 30 to 40 eggs in a nest in the mud.  These eggs will hatch after approximately 70 days.

Threats
This species is critically endangered due to a number of factors.  These include a very restricted natural distribution, and having been hunted to near extinction in the past.  A further factor is that they often hybridise with other species in the wild, especially American Crocodiles, which has severely damaged their natural gene pool.

Interesting facts
This is one of the few crocodiles who are able to jump as high as about 3 feet while on the land.  Many crocodiles jump out of the water, especially when young, however the Cuban Crocodile is one of the few crocodiles which uses it as a common feeding strategy in adult life.  They are also one of the fastest moving crocodiles on land, having specially adapted feet with reduced webbing to make it easier to move on land.