2 Nile crocodiles have arrived
After nearly a 10-year absence, Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) are back to La Palmyre Zoo! A male and a female from Pont-Scorff Zoo arrived at the reptile house last Wednesday and are hosted in the former basin of the spectacled caimans.
Both specimens were transported in tubular crates that were tipped above the windows of the basin because the narrow keeper corridor prevented us from unloading the animals at ground level.
The species, native to Africa and Madagascar, is one of the largest of the genus Crocodylus: males can exceed 4 meters in length and weigh up to 1 ton!
This superpredator, perfectly adapted to water, feeds on fishes, birds and terrestrial mammals such as zebras, buffaloes, antelopes or wildebeests that he grabs with his powerful jaws before taking them underwater to drown them.
The female lays around 60 eggs in a hole generally covered with sand and located several meters from permanent water. She defends her nest vigorously against predators during the 3-month incubation period. When young crocodiles are about to hatch, the female excavate the nest and gathers the hatchlings into her mouth before carrying them to the water, where they will remain together for several months, protected by their mother.
The Nile crocodile isn't considered at risk of extinction, even if because of its dangerousness and the conflicts with humans, crocodile nests are often destroyed while adults are killed. Although listed on Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), meaning that its trade is banned, the Nile crocodile has been downgraded to Appendix II in several countries, allowing a certain level of commercial trade, mainly in the form of farming for skin.