Live Crocs in the Exhibition
Part of the Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World exhibition.
American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are devoted parents. The female builds a nest by scraping together leaves and other debris, buries her eggs inside the mound, and stands guard for two months until the babies hatch. A live-animal diorama in the exhibition features a re-created alligator nest at water’s edge, where live hatchlings swim and interact in the adjacent pool.
African Slender-snouted Crocodile
An agile swimmer that does its hunting underwater, the namesake nose of the slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus) is well adapted to move quickly while catching fish, which form the bulk of this endangered animal’s diet.
These shy forest dwellers spend much of the day hidden in earthen burrows and emerge after dark to search for food. Unlike most crocodilians, dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus tetraspis) do much of their hunting on land—prowling the forest at night, far from water.
Siamese crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) are among the most endangered crocodilian species, and may be functionally extinct throughout much of their range. Conservation groups are scrambling to save the last wild populations of Siamese crocs, which are threatened by habitat loss and construction of hydroelectric dams.
Lead image: American alligators thrive in the swamps of many southern states. (© McDonald Wildlife Photography)