West African Dwarf Crocodile

West African Dwarf Crocodile at Wingham Wildlife Park by Ashley owen

West African Dwarf Crocodile Natural History

This species of crocodile rarely reaches a length of 1.6 m, with males often being slightly larger than females.

Habitat and Distribution
This species can be found in rivers, lakes and swamps throughout much of Western and Wet-Central Africa including Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Senegal, Gabon, Ghana, Tog, Gambia, Liberia and Nigeria.

This species has been recorded to live for as long as 75 years.

This is an opportunistic animal which will feed on fish, mammals and even large invertebrates such as crabs.  However it will also feed on carrion when given the opportunity, which it will forage for in and near water.

Groups and Breeding
This species can be found in small groups however is mostly found leading a solitary existence, and even when living in groups, each individual will usually have its own burrow.  After breeding the female will lay a clutch of up to 10 hard shelled eggs, which will hatch out after incubating in a nest for 100 days.

The two main threats for this crocodile are hunting for meat (for local consumption) as well as deforestation.  It has a beautiful skin however it is of very low quality when turned in to leather because it is so heavily armoured, and covers such a small area, due to this it is not hunted for its skin.

Interesting facts

  • This is the smallest of all crocodilian species.
  • This crocodile is nocturnal

The West African Dwarf Crocodile During Your Day Out in Kent

Our West African dwarf crocodile is on display in the reptile house. This area is also home to many other reptile, amphibian and invertebrate species such as cobalt blue tarantula, reticulated pythons, gray’s monitors and Yemen chameleon.