Scientific Name:Crocodylus moreletii
IUCN Red List status: Least Concern
Protected by the following WLT projects:
Species Range (IUCN)
The Morelet’s Crocodile is also known as an Alligator, an Agarei, Brown Crocodile or Swamp Crocodile. These crocodiles are relatively small, usually less than 3m in length. They have a broad snout, and are greyish brown in colour with dark bands and spots on their bodies and tails.
Morelet's Crocodiles are generally shy and timid although the larger ones can be considered dangerous to humans. They eat a variety of prey, including aquatic invertebrates, fish, small reptiles and mammals and birds.
The females lay 20-45 eggs in a mound nest before the onset of the rainy season (April – June). These crocodiles are the only New World crocodiles that are exclusively mound nesting. The mounds occur near the water or on floating vegetation. Females guard the nest during the incubation period (around 80 days) and respond to the vocalisation of hatchlings and open up the mounds.
This species is primarily a freshwater crocodile, living in swamps, marshes, ponds, lagoons and forested areas, although sometimes it can be found in brackish water around coastal areas. Morelet's crocodiles occur in areas of Central America including Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
Threats and Conservation
In the 1940's and 1950s the Morelet's Crocodile was almost hunted to extinction due to its valuable hide. It has since been made illegal to hunt these animals and the species has steadily recovered. Although there are thought to be over 10,000 adult specimens in the wild the crocodile still faces threat from habitat loss and illegal poaching and is thus listed in the IUCN red list of threatened species as Conservation Dependent .