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Florida Boardwalk Animal Fact Sheet

Crocodylus Intermedius

Restricted to the Orinoco River drainage basin and the Meta River drainage basin in Columbia and Venezuela, South America.

The Orinoco crocodile is the only other species of crocodylus in South America aside from the American crocodile. The Orinoco crocodile has a narrow snout especially designed for quick response to fishing. Its dorsal armor is symmetrical, and its most common coloration is a light tan body with scattered dark areas. Though color ranges from grayish green bodies with dark blotches to a uniformly dark gray. The ventral surface (belly area) is white.
Though this crocodile typically inhabits an area unpopulated by humans, there are past reports of attacks on domestic animals and humans. These creatures will risk eating anything if the normative food source is scarce.

Between the 1920’s and 1960’s man hunted thousands of these crocodiles in the Orinoco River, leaving the species critically endangered to this day. In that time, the hide was desired and exchanged all over the world. Remaining populations are restricted to places furthest from society. Even these are increasingly threatened by village’s subsistence hunting. Meat and eggs are eaten-- their teeth are used for medicinal purposes.

Habitat: They primarily inhabit freshwater rivers, the aforementioned drainage basins known as the Llanos savannahs. In these savannahs lands become waterlogged and seasonal rivers are created during the rainy season. During the dry season, the Orinoco retreats into burrows where small areas of water remain. It may also move overland in search of deeper stretch of water.

Juveniles eat small fish and invertebrates, while larger members of the species consume a variety of aquatic vertebrates like fish. They also eat terrestrial vertebrates and birds approaching or entering the water’s edge.

Status: Critically Endangered (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 9.9 to 16 feet
Weight: Approximate weight is 837 pounds for males and 440 pounds for females.

Lifespan: Lifespan is between 60 and 80 years.
Reproduction & Offspring:

The Orinoco crocodiles breed during the dry season. About 14 weeks after mating, the female will dig out a nest, usually in a sand bank and lay her eggs. This usually occurs in January and February. Most females lay at least 40 eggs, but the “clutch size” can vary from 15 to 70. The eggs incubate for 70 to 90 days before hatching. The mother will dig out her babies and carry them to the water once she hears their chirping sounds. The mother will actually defend her offspring up to three years. Anacondas, caimans, tegu lizards and vultures feast on eggs and the young crocodiles at every opportunity.


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