Monday, January 30, 2012

Morelet's Crocodile

Crocodylus moreletii
Allow me to introduce you to the Morelet's Crocodile, named for P.M.A. Morelet who discovered the species in 1850. This species, which lives in Central America, grows to lengths of up to 3m. They can be found in secluded freshwater swamps and marshes near the Gulf of Mexico.

Morelet's Crocodiles have been in trouble for a number of decades. They have been illegally hunted since the early 20th century because their skin can be used to make high quality leather. Habitat destruction has also hurt the species. Since the 1970s they have been monitored by the Crocodile Specialist Group, and their numbers have been improving.

Behavior wise, Morelet's Crocodiles are considered to be shy, which is why they prefer secluded habitats. They have the distinction of being the only New World Crocodile that they exclusively build mound nests for their eggs. These nests can be 3m wide and 1m tall, and the female will guard over their eggs until they hatch. She will then dig out her offspring and carry them to the water.

IUCN Status : Least Concern - Conservation Dependant
Location : Guatemala, Belize, Mexico
Size : Length up to 9.8ft (3m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Crocodilia
Family : Crocodylidae -- Genus : Crocodylus -- Species : C. moreletii

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