ANIMAL:Orinoco Crocodile Crocodylus intermedius
Type of Animal:
Lagoons, rivers, ponds, lakes, riverbanks, wetlands, tropical forest, streams, savanna, riparian forest, grasslands, floodplains, foothills (formerly), mostly freshwater but sometimes in saltwater
Orinoco & Meta River basins of Venezuela & Colombia. Once found in other areas of those 2 countries, including Andean foothills.
Long narrow snout, coloration comes in 3 forms-negro (dark grey), amarillo (pineapple yellow), & mariposo (green w/ grey spatterings), dark brown markings scattered in adults & appear is more pronounced bands in younger animals, light belly
Fish, birds, invertebrates, mammals up to size of cattle, reptiles (including anacondas, caimans, & smaller individuals of own species), amphibians. Human-eating crocs have occurred.
Status in Wild:
Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & breeding centers. Reintroductions into wild areas.
Groups consist of dominant male w/ 1-12 females though groups w/ 3 or 4 males w/ up to 20 females also occur. Same-sex groups of related individuals also occur as well as solitary animals & looser mixed-sex groups (typically outside of breeding season). Sub-adults & juveniles found in own groups. Each female lays 15-70 eggs.
Male: 700-840 lbs
Female: 440-496 lbs
Young: 3 lbs
3 monthsLife Span:
Male: 13.5-17.1 ft
Female: 9.8-10.5 ft
Young: 2.5 ft
Male: 5 ft
Female: 4 ft
Main predators of adults are jaguars & anacondas (w/ fights to death occurring in which 1st one killed gets eaten). Sub-adults preyed on by adults. Young preyed on by caimans, lizards, vultures, coatis, eagles, snakes, hawks, ocelots, & foxes.
Critically endangered due to hunting for meat/skin, hunting for medicinal purposes (teeth to ward off evil spirits, fat to cure pain habitat loss, penises used as aphrodisiacs, etc.), egg/young collection, competition w/ caimans, killing out of fear, competition w/ humans for fish, water pollution, & dam construction.
Less than 100 years ago there were an estimated 3 million of these crocs-now that number is less than 1,000.
Young stay w/ mom for 1-3 years
Sexually mature at 8-10 years old.
Like many crocodilians, they’re ambush predators.
Males attract females w/ deep bellows/roars.
Rarest & longest crocodilian in New World.
They dig holes in sandy areas to lay eggs.
Like many crocodilians, nest/egg temperatures determine sex of young.
Sometimes go into dormant state in drier areas/seasons.
Like many crocs, these crocs can be highly aggressive- especially nesting/brooding females.