The Cuban crocodile has received a lot of press recently after a video shared by Gatorland Orlando showed an alligator named Chainsaw sprinting after a keeper entered his enclosure.
This very well-deserved publicity has been welcomed by conservation communities working to keep the species thriving for future generations to enjoy.
Here are 10 things you should know about Cuban crocodiles.
- The Cuban crocodile is one of the most critically endangered New World crocodile species due to habitat loss and human activity. The Cuban crocodile population is estimated to be between 3,000 and 6,000 individuals.
- Cuban crocodiles once roamed an area stretching from the Cayman Islands in the west to the Bahamas in the north and parts of Hispaniola in the east. Sadly, that range is depleted in Cuba’s Lanier and Zapata Wetlands.
- The Smithsonian estimates that Lanier Marsh is home to 600 Cuban crocodiles, which compete with more than 40,000 spectacled caiman for food and resources. In the Zapata Wetlands, cross-breeding between American and Cuban crocodiles is reducing the purebred population.he
- The Cuban crocodile is the most terrestrial of the crocodiles and is a good walker, using its long limbs to chase and leap prey. To survive on land, crocodiles evolved short toes. It has no webbing that allows other crocodiles to be strong swimmers.
- Cuban crocodiles may have adapted to life on land, but in the water they live in, they are at home and can reach speeds of 30 kilometers per hour.
- The sex of Cuban crocodile babies is determined by the temperature of the burrow. Alligator males hatch only when the temperature inside the nest is between 30 and her 32 degrees Celsius, and females hatch at lower temperatures.
- Adult Cuban crocodiles grow up to 3.5 meters, and males are larger than females. The average crocodile weighs 70-80 kg.
- Adult Cuban crocodiles have been observed to exhibit some degree of herding behavior, cooperating to forage for food such as fish, turtles and small terrestrial mammals.
- A Cuban crocodile’s age can be determined by the dark color of its iris or a sample of some of its scales.
- Cuban crocodiles tend to live quite long, with some individuals living up to 75 years.
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